Smart mobility management keeps employees within view
The proliferation of smartphones and tablets in consumer circles has made mobility management an unavoidable question for enterprise IT managers. One way or another, these powerful gadgets are making their way into the hands of employees and onto corporate networks. But as companies debate their merits of different governance models, it’s becoming clear that they must strike a delicate balance between restriction and permission if they hope to keep employees within view and sensitive data within grasp.
Mobile workforce redefining IT
Network managers are quickly realizing that smartphones and tablets represent much more than a simple technological progression. The changes brought about by mobile devices are not restricted to mere bits and bytes, instead the technology is disrupting workplace dynamics and redefining employee roles. The line between the IT department and the rest of the organization has been blurred with the rise of a new breed of tech-savvy workers that consider themselves willing and able to choose and manage the tools that are best-suited to their needs.
Bring-your-own-device trends – whether company-sanctioned or established by default – are the most obvious product of this development. Corporate resources are no longer provisioned solely across desktop platforms, or even company-owned hardware. As a result, decision-making processes have left the IT castle and been democratized among the people.
This phenomenon can have serious implications that go well beyond mobile email access and tablet apps, however. According to GigaOM, this new breed of autonomous mobile employees is establishing an entirely new corporate silo in the form of “stealth IT.” With devices leaving corporate firewalls and personal credit cards covering up paper trails, business managers are left in the dark with potentially sensitive data blowing in the wind.
While this is certainly not the case in every office, it could ring surprisingly true for a number of firms. The obvious antidote is, of course, IT reasserting itself with a well-crafted mobile device management strategy. However, administrators must be careful not to stray too far and employ overly restrictive policies that only drive disgruntled employees – and their potentially risky behavior – further underground and farther out of sight.
Employee compliance key to effective MDM
By now, most companies should understand that “Wild West” is not a term of endearment when applied to mobility management plans. Unsupervised employees can wreak havoc on mobile billing strategies and data compliance requirements, and there is no invisible hand that will guide them in the right direction and smooth over such concerns. That push must come from IT.
The key to enterprise mobility management lies in open communication between IT teams and the colleagues they support. Technology decision-makers must take note of what employees truly need to perform their best and explain the rationale behind their own safeguards and restrictions.
According to the Globe and Mail, one of the best ways to get started in the right direction is to start asking questions related to use cases. By determining how smartphones and tablets are being leveraged in the corporate workflow, IT managers will have a better idea of what capabilities and what level of support employees must be equipped with. Additionally, this process will reveal how company data is being accessed and shared, allowing managers to make better decisions as to where to place the most robust protections.