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The mobile device features core to a mobility management program

Is your organization's mobile device strategy prepared for a device-agnostic future? In this five-part webcast, Craig Mathias, principal at wireless mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group and a well-known industry expert in the areas of wireless communications and mobile computing technologies, discusses the fundamentals of a mobile device strategy. In part one, Mathias provided an overview of mobile device strategies. Here, in part two, he looks at the mobile device features organizations should insist upon as part of their mobility management program. Watch the webcast and read the transcript below.

Mobile device management is all about the device, the objectives and minimizing operating expense. We can provision this as an enterprise service or as a third-party service, and the carriers are beginning to roll this out in some parts of the world. There are even some standards for the Open Mobile Alliance.

I proposed some standards in this area, but I wouldn't count on that being terribly pervasive today. But here's just a brief list, which is by no means a comprehensive list, of all the things that you may find in a mobile device management solution: provisioning of updates, configuration management, the infamous zapping or racing the device, which is of less value than you might think. By the time the device is reported stolen -- and if it was stolen by a serious thief -- your information has probably been compromised.

So, other security measures are absolutely required. This element of MDM is nowhere near as useful as I a lot of people have been led to believe. Here are the other measures:

  • Cost accounting and management;
  • Elements of security and integrity, mostly with respect to malware and viruses and such;
  • Help and troubleshooting;
  • Backup and restore;
  • Policy enforcement; and
  • Logging and reporting.

Much, much more is possible here. But, again, think in terms of the device, that end-user device whether it's owned by the organization or whether it's part of BYOD [bring your own device]. An element of MDM [mobile device management] is necessary. It is something that you want to have in there and, again, we'll argue back and forth about just how much goes into MDM.

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Since MDM features do not really apply to applications, here is an entirely different field: mobile application management. So, as I mentioned, there is whitelisting, blacklisting, application verification, enterprise app store, monitoring, tracking, versioning and analytics. This is useful whether we have applications locally or in the cloud. Again, nothing to do with MDM, nothing to do with BYOD, but very, very important. Since applications affect data, [organizations] don't even bother managing the device in many cases. Just worry about the applications that can affect sensitive data.

If we're worried about sensitive enterprise data, why not go a layer lower and look at managing information directly? Since data and information is at the core of everything that we do in IT -- that's the atomic unit of management -- don't worry so much about the device. Don't even worry so much about the applications.

What these solutions can do, certainly, is encrypt the data and, again, we mentioned sandboxing and containerization at the core of this. Data is encrypted, available only to authorized applications and only to authorized users on authorized devices. We can very carefully track what's going on here and, ideally, we will enhance rather than inhibit the sharing and collaboration that's at the heart of IT today.

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