Enterprise Mobile Management: An Imperative You Can’t Avoid
Author: Mike Anderson Date: May 18, 2012
Topic: Mobile Research Note Number: 2012-13
Issues: What are the best policies for harnessing the power of mobile computing?
Summary: Mobile app and device management have attracted attention, but effective enterprise mobility management addresses business, operational, financial and other lifecycle issues. No single approach works for every business, tools are incomplete and the current market is fragmented, but a mobile management strategy is an enterprise imperative.
Success with mobile devices has depended from the beginning not only on the devices themselves but also on apps that are easy to use. At first, enterprises could focus on a single mobile device and OS and a single application: email. Those days are numbered, and enterprises need a flexible strategy to manage increasing device diversity, expansion of mobile users, and an explosion of apps selected both by the company and by the individual user.
A mobile strategy based on managing the devices themselves is increasingly inadequate for meeting the needs of enterprises. While mobile device management (MDM) has helped enterprises address authentication and security issues, four leading factors are forcing a change in enterprise focus from devices to apps, and a race for new features and capabilities (see Note 1).
Increasing app reliance: When the predominant mobile app was email, management and support systems were fairly simple. However, with the subsequent explosion of apps, many of which access enterprise systems and data, simply controlling device permissions is insufficient. Enterprises need to manage the apps themselves: to restrict the use of some or mandate the installation of others. Different users may need different devices, and also a different inventory of apps, based on their roles in the workplace.
Mobile access to enterprise data: Mobile devices are powerful tools for anytime access to enterprise content and data. Being able to secure that information, selectively authorize access to it or its transfer to the mobile device, or to selectively remove data from a device are all increasingly important. For instance, when a user changes roles, their access to both apps and data may change and necessitate wiping certain data. Eliminating all data, or completely wiping the device, is ineffective and onerous. An effective mobile management strategy will selectively address specific types of data for different users.
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