A recent survey, conducted by global consulting firm Frost and Sullivan, identified Bring Your own Device (BYOD) as one of the top ten transformational IT trends for 2014. This isn’t surprising as the enormous popularity of smartphones and apps has opened up great opportunities for SME’s.
Businesses can use their mobile phones to collect credit card payments, CRM responses can be streamlined using tablets, employees can respond to email queries after hours, and overall, the workforce can be more efficient and responsive, using their mobile devices to connect back to the rest of the office. For the employee, this in turn drives productivity and competitiveness in the market and lowers the cost associated with travel to and from the office.
One of the challenges with anywhere, anytime access to information is related to BYOD. The security of information on the device and access to corporate networks can be breached, if the device is lost or stolen, where over the last few years, enterprise mobility has become an opportunity and a challenge for IT managers.
In order to mitigate risks, IT policies and security measures have to be updated and a mobile device management (MDM) solution has to be considered.
What is MDM all about?
Mobile Device Management or MDM is gaining popularity, particularly as cloud-based solutions become more widely available. MDM provides a way for businesses to embrace the BYOD trend, while maintaining an element of control over the management of the devices that employees are using on a daily basis.
For example, users can remotely lock mobile devices or wipe sensitive company data from a lost or stolen device. Mobile device management also provides the ability to manage mobile apps that are on each device, by blocking apps that may not be desired by the company, or may present a risk, such as mobile malware. Some MDM solutions provide remote support and the ability to do a health check on the mobile device, its content and the associated data plan and call budgets.
Small businesses need to define bring-your-own-device policies for data protection and storage of sensitive data. The cost-saving and freedom offered to employees using their own devices can still be managed through an MDM solution.
Invest in MDM
Business managers must keep in mind the importance of investing in MDM. If the IT manager does not have the capability to support the variety of devices that enterprise mobility brings, then it’s important to outsource this type of support, to not only get it right, but to ensure that company data is split from personal data and most importantly, protected.
Overall, by having the right platform and well-defined policies in place, you can begin to rein in your company’s mobile device strategy and reap the rewards of smaller device investment costs and higher levels of productivity.
About the author: Yaron Assabi is the founder of the Digital Solutions Group and BroadBrand one of the leading innovators in the ICT and communications industry. Yaron is also a member of the Advisory Board at Mobile Marketing Association South Africa.