Search Results for: mdm

Pure-Play vs.Platform MDM: Which Is The Best Fit For Your Company?

With the unabated growth of consumerization, Gartner Research recently stated that “mobile device management (MDM) is essential for IT success”. However, with so many options – which is best? There are several new companies in this space offering great solutions. Security vendors are expanding their offerings and you have major platform or systems management vendors adding ways to manage a variety of mobile devices.

Our own Director of Security Solutions Stephen Perciballi and Manager of Microsoft Solutions Architecture Tim McKellips recently sat down with the Softchoice Advisor to discuss the challenges and implications involved with managing this environment.

Softchoice Advisor: What is your overall opinion on pure-play versus platform mobile device management?

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Choosing An MDM Solution

This article originally appeared on Stephen’s personal blog. You can visit it here.

Right now there are several types of Mobile Device Management solutions.  They all have their place when you consider security and total cost of ownership.  Some of them are going to be much more secure giving more piece of mind.  Others are going to integrate into or leverage existing systems giving you piece of mind that you are not standing up an entirely new environment that also needs to be managed and secured.

We will be focused on MDM solutions that manage Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Mobile.  Blackberry is very well known for having one of the most secure solutions already.  Until a few years ago they were pretty much the only game in town when it came to phones carrying sensitive data so I’m sure they have been under heavy attack.  Very few issues have been published about the Blackberry solution and it’s not because it wasn’t a target.

Generally every solution out there is going to allow you to push email, calendar, contacts.  You will also be able to configure other features on the device such as wifi and VPN profiles.  From a security perspective you are able to force passwords on and enforce complexity.  Finally you can wipe out the work email, calendar, and contacts that you push along with any other settings like VPN and wifi.  Or you could decide to simply wipe the entire device.  These are the main benefits of having an MDM.  Without these abilities I.T. is going to be tasked with managing and supporting all of these devices which would be extremely time consuming.

 

Regardless of which solution you choose there is still some inherent risk today unless you use this solution in conjunction with something else.

1.   Containers
 
This is the first type of MDM solution that made it’s way into corporate environments.  In a container system an application typically found on either iTunes or Google Play is installed on the device by the user. When they sign into the app with their corporate email address and password the app finds the MDM server and synchronizes policies.  Once synchronized email, calendar, and contacts are synchronized to the device.  The stand out feature here is that these services are synchronized to the app that they downloaded.   [Read more…]

Why Your BYOD Strategy Must Begin with a Usage Policy

Why Your BYOD Strategy Must Begin with a Usage Policy

In a recent an article on CIO.com, Tom Kaneshige ponders the inevitability of class-action lawsuits by users whose companies cross the divide between the personal and the corporate in a BYOD environment. The blending of personal and company data and applications on user-owned devices becomes a potential minefield. What if company applications are collecting location data on employees after hours? What if IT accidentally does a remote wipe of users’ devices and erases their personal contacts, apps and data?

On the other hand, users expose the company system to potential compromise, too. Rogue apps, insecure Wi-Fi networks and generally poor security practices all pose an element of risk to the company network.

That’s why it’s critical to have a comprehensive BYOD policy up front — and equally critical that employees understand its implications. And defining a BYOD policy guides the technology decisions you’ll make further down the road.

So what goes into a good BYOD policy? Softchoice has had a BYOD policy in place now for about 12 months, and we’ve identified five things (the hard way) that need to be included in your BYOD usage policy from day one.

1. Who pays (and how). With employer-issued devices, the company shoulders a predictable cost. This is not the case for BYOD, since users can purchase from a wide selection of mobile devices. Put together a cost-neutral arrangement for device and data expense coverage and take into account a reasonable refresh rate.

2. Which devices and operating systems. Broadly speaking, there are two types of devices – laptops and mobile devices (including tablets). Policies may differ to reflect the device being used – for example, a 4G mobile connection has embedded security features that laptops connecting over WiFi don’t. Companies concerned about security and support costs might consider a “white list” of devices and operating systems that qualify for the BYOD program.

3. Who has access to what (aka Role-based access). Not everyone needs mobile access to every element of the company system, nor every company application. One common approach to this is role-based access is to assign each user a predefined profile that matches the needs of their corporate role. This also defines responsibility for management of the devices i.e. who’s responsible for installing or uninstalling corporate applications, pushing out updates, etc.

4. Clearly define company versus personal assets. What apps, data and features does the company have access to and control over? As an example, if corporate and personal contact information are stored in one place and a salesperson moves to a competitor, how does the company delete those sales prospects without wiping Mom’s phone number? Can the company use a device’s GPS capabilities to track employees? Here’s where a mobile device management (MDM) platform like Meraki can make a huge difference. But it’s still critical that the parameters between exactly what personal vs. business data is wiped need to be clearly defined and understood by the employee upfront.

5. Security requirements. For many employees, the definition of “workspace” is fluid — office, home, hotel, airport, coffee shop. It’s one of the attractions of mobility. But open environments can be insecure. That Wi-Fi hotspot in the cafe might not be secure, or worse, might actually be a rogue laptop collecting data. A BYOD policy has to define standards for public wireless use, like encryption types and virtual private network (VPN) access, when employees are connecting to the company network.

A BYOD policy also has to cover devices and data at rest. If the user’s device has sensitive data, particularly customers’ personal information, a BYOD policy should spell out encryption requirements and data loss prevention (DLP) protocols. Consider the number of headlines about personal data lost on USB sticks! Data leakage is a very real problem, and a potentially expensive one.

While a solid BYOD policy is complex, it’s critical to start from a policy and let that direct technology decisions, not the other way around. Retrofitting your solution to account for unforeseen issues is expensive and inefficient.

A good place to start is to evaluate where you stand now. Softchoice’s Mobile TechCheck service helps catalogue and identify mobile devices within the business and evaluate their impact.

What would you add (or remove) from this list? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update the post.

Mastering the BYOD Balancing Act: The Softchoice Journey

Balancing Act

It’s funny how things evolve so quickly. Just a few years ago, the thought of employees using their own phones or laptops for work at work was unthinkable.

But as the consumerization of IT trend grows from a trickle to a flood, many organizations have no choice but consider how to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. And the experience at Softchoice was no different.

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7 Technologies That Make BYOD a Reality

seven technologies to enable a BYOD strategy

Let’s start with the obvious.

There is no silver bullet, one-size-fits-all checklist for creating the perfect Bring Your Own Device strategy. Every organization is completely different.

But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Many of the technologies necessary to support a strategy are probably already in your ecosystem. It’s just a matter of knowing what’s missing, and how to leverage what you’ve already got.

To give you a hand, we’ve assembled seven tools and technologies that make planning and executing your BYOD strategy a reality.

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Surviving BYOA: Our Top 3 Apps for Work

While BYOD (bring-your-own-device) seems to be a major concern of IT administrators today, BYOA – or bring-your-own-application – is becoming increasingly as significant. Using third-party applications and cloud services in the workplace brings about a host of control, security and productivity considerations. And just like BYOD, BYOA is real. According to a recent Fortinet study of over 3,800 active employees in their twenties, 69 percent indicated that they were interested in creating and using their own applications, while 30 percent admitted they would likely contravene any restrictive company policies.

In this next BYOD Behind the Scenes expedition, I took a look at industry trends and conducted a poll of Softchoice employees to compile our top 3 applications to bring to work! Share this list to with your users and ensure they’re getting the most out of their chosen devices and can make the safest, most productive decisions for your company.

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