Mobile device management in the workplace
By Lisa Falzone
The workplace has gone mobile. Marketers are now leveraging mobile assets such as smartphones and tablets like never before, but with the added convenience comes the need to effectively manage and configure the devices for the enterprise.
MDM, or Mobile Device Management, is an excellent tool to keep both your organization?s data and devices secure.
Mark Edwards, CEO of mFormation, broadly defines MDM as ?everything that is required to ease and enhance the customer experience including ensuring the device is properly configured, managed, supported, secured, and updated.?
MDM is a system put in place to ensure that a business?s mobile devices are protected.
The benefits of MDM from an individual?s perspective are readily apparent: if your device is stolen, enacting MDM will not only shut it down ? therefore barring access from prying eyes ? but help that individual locate his stolen device.
MDM is becoming increasingly popular on the corporate scale as more employees are bringing their personal devices to work through a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, and using those same devices to access company information.
Seventy percent of respondents to the 2011 Strategic Security Survey say that mobile devices ?pose some level of threat to their companies? security,? and 33 percent use mobile device management software to counter this threat.
Employees using their own devices to access company data can indeed pose a threat to company security. But this threat can be met with the use of MDM software. That is, companies do not necessarily have to require employees to only use company-issued devices to access company data.
With the implementation of MDM, companies can set up their MDM system to identify mobile devices accessing the email server that are not authorized to do so, and alert their IT department.
MDM covers company data from unauthorized access. But what can it do in the event a device is stolen?
Silver lining in cloud
In the same survey noted above, ?the most cited concern (64 percent) is that sensitive info will be on a device that is lost [or] stolen.?
To counter this concern, it is essential that your MDM system has ?the ability to enforce security policies and to wipe remotely all the devices you support.?
Companies employing MDM no longer need be concerned with sensitive data being released when a device is stolen or lost.
The cost of an MDM solution is minimal ? $20 to $10 per device per month ?when compared to the cost of replacing expensive devices, or the irreparable damage caused by a data security breach.
The advantage of deploying an MDM solution on both the personal and corporate level are both apparent, but what about the hospitality industry?
As more restaurants and retailers adopt tablet- and cloud-based point of sale systems, owners of hospitality-related businesses need to take the above-mentioned concerns into account.
One of the perks of a cloud-based system is a restaurant can use sleek, attractive tablets for tableside ordering.
Unfortunately, these benefits also translate into tablets being easier ? and more desirable ? to steal than traditional POS systems.
Business owners wishing to track down and lock stolen devices should consider using MDM software. This security measure can be taken one step further by using a POS system that integrates with an MDM solution.
This ensures that your MDM solution is communicating seamlessly with your point of sale, and enables business owners to mitigate the ill effects of a theft.
If a tablet is stolen, owners can lock it down from usage as well as protect sensitive business information. MDM will also enable business owners to track the stolen device with the hopes of recovering it.
AS BUSINESSES increasingly adopt mobile, security becomes more important than ever.
Make sure your business adopts a solution that protects employees, customer data and your devices from unauthorized access or use.
Mobile device management is certainly the most comprehensive and, down the road, most cost-effective way to keep your business safe and secure.
Lisa Falzone is founder/CEO of Revel Systems, San Francisco. Reach her at .