Create a Mobile Device Policy That Benefits Your Business
Do your employees use their personal mobile devices for work? Consider issuing a mobile device policy to ensure the security of your data and system access.
When used correctly, mobile devices can boost your business’s productivity by up to 85%. Business owners and their employees can access email remotely, use work-related apps, and stay current with clients and customers. In the coming years, the widespread adoption of mobile payments is even anticipated.
At the same time, an increasing number of business owners and IT specialists are concerned about employee use trends and security issues where mobile devices are concerned. To combat these potential issues, many companies are turning to mobile device management (MDM) via their IT service providers.
“We have found that the majority of our clients have not come on board with mobile device management, but this is slowly changing,” says Jorge Rojas of Toronto IT company, Tektonic Inc.
Jason Simons, VP of ICS’s Houston Division, agrees: “Mobile device policies have become more and more important for clients.”
The even better news is that all you need for a strong policy are a few simple, yet effective strategies and guidelines. Below, we’ll outline key tips for enacting effective mobile device management guidelines within your business. But first, let’s go over some important key terms: MDM, MAM, MIM, and BYOD.
What Does MDM Mean? (What Is Mobile Device Management?)
For the most part, MDM, which stands for “mobile device management,” refers to special software. This software controls how mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are used within a business.
Depending on how much control a business wants to have over its employees’ phones, this software may be a bit heavy-handed. It generally allows IT specialists to see most of what one does on his or her mobile device. Furthermore, it can lock, erase, and control many of a mobile device’s functions. If the device is personal (meaning an employee purchases it for their own use but also brings it to the office and uses it for work), this can bring about some privacy issues.
Regardless, mobile device management software is still widely used. IT specialists and the businesses they work with can choose from a long list of MDM software vendors.
For example, Dave Brewer of IT support in San Jose, CA company, BC Networks, Inc. says, “We use Intune and have standardized on using Microsoft’s solution as it integrated with Microsoft’s Office365.”
Don Baham, President of Nashville IT services firm, Kraft Technology Group, LLC, also uses Microsoft’s Intune: “Intune allows full MDM functionality with company-owned and employee-owned devices.” He uses Duo as well: “Duo is typically known for their two-factor authentication services, but their mobile application has MDM capabilities we like to leverage.”
What Does MAM Mean?
MAM stands for “mobile application management.” This is software that protects work-related applications on employee phones.
Concerning privacy, this type of software is not so heavy-handed as MDM because it only applies to specific applications on a device, not to the entire device itself.
For example, let’s say your business has an app for employees. It allows workers to access their work email, work calendar, and project portal from anywhere, via their smartphones or tablets. In this case, MAM software may be implemented on employee phones and tablets in order to safeguard this particular app against possible security risks.
What Does MIM Mean?
MIM stands for “mobile information management.” Generally speaking, MIM applies to security software that protects cloud-based services, which store data — like Dropbox. It keeps data from these services safe and encrypted so that it can only be accessed or transmitted by approved users and applications.
What Does BYOD Mean?
When discussing MDM, MAM, and MIM, you’ll probably see the acronym BYOD as well.
BYOD stands for “bring your own device.” It refers to one mobile device protocol model that business owners may choose to use — that of allowing employees to bring their own personal mobile devices to work, instead of using company-issued devices. If a business owner wants to use this model, they should consider implementing MDM, MAM, and/or MIM software with employees’ devices.
How Do You Implement a Strong Mobile Device Policy in a Business?
Use the following guidelines when choosing a mobile device policy for your business.
Make sure you’re in control of company data.
According to Simons, you want your MDM to “[secure] data [so that it can] remote wipe corporate applications from employee provided phones” (when necessary). MDM software should also “provide security requirements per device — i.e. require a login.”
Nick Allo, Director of IT Services at Orlando IT company, SemTech IT, says that his business leverages “MDM that allows us to set policies much the same you would a traditional PC.”
Tell your employees what you expect of them.
Make sure your employees are aware of the policy you’re enacting. Says Ilan Sredni of Fort Lauderdale IT services firm, Palindrome Consulting: “With the proliferation of devices that each user owns and how they use them, a good Network Access control system must be implemented … It has come a time when we must accept that we can’t control user habits when they are out of the office and need to assume that any of those devices can be infected at any given time.”
Opening a good dialogue with employees, concerning their mobile device habits, can help here.
Work with an IT service provider who specializes in software for mobile device policies.
Lastly, don’t try to implement a mobile device policy on your own unless you know exactly what you’re doing. IT specialists know and understand the nuances of various MDM, MAM, and MIM software and will be your best option at finding optimal software for your business’s specific needs.