It used to be that your company would furnish you with a mobile phone or laptop if your job required it. But with pretty much everyone already having smartphones of their own, a significant number of businesses plan on discontinuing programs to provide employee devices by as early as 2017 — as many as 38 percent, according to Gartner. But even as BYOD helps bottom lines, it's also opens the door for security breaches, messaging problems and other IT nightmares. Considering it's not a trend that can be ignored or denied, it's vital to establish MDM solutions for your enterprise before it becomes a problem.
1. Make Policies Priority
If you think about it, MDM (Mobile Device Management) is more than just an IT issue. The various security issues, data plan expenses and privacy concerns mean that just about every department from legal to HR to security will have a stake in the BYOD arena. Fiberlink MaaS360 recommends companies write BYOD policy even before procurring the technology, taking concerns from all departments into account. Sometimes it's impossible to foresee every matter that could possibly arise, but Fiberlink advises policies at least cover the types of devices supported and the process for data plans for business-related usage payments. MDM policies should also include regulations to govern the data your company wants to protect along with security measures that are needed, clearly outline which resources employees are allowed to access, and what data — personal as well as business — will be collected off the devices. There should also be an Acceptable Usage Agreement in place so that employees with access to corporate data on their mobile devices cannot claim ignorance.
2. Choose the Best Software
If you haven't been shopping around for MDM software, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the variety you have to choose from. Or, you could find the sheer number of viable options mind boggling. An Internet search will return pages and pages of results such as AirWatch, Excitor and AmTel, websites that all provide MDM solutions. You'll want to look for MD software that supports more than just one device or platform. Many employees will have iPhones and iPads, but if you choose software that doesn't support Windows, BlackBerry or Android devices, many of your employees will be left out in the cold.
3. OS Upgrades
Operating systems are evolving at the speed of light. Effective MDM means keeping your employees upgraded at all times. You could set up an automatic notification system to let everyone know when a new OS has been released and is ready for installation. Certain MDMs let you take this a step further to make certain everyone is in compliance. MobileIron, for example, notifies administrators when a device is in non-compliance. This benefits everyone because updated OS's allow employees to get the most out of their devices.
4. Data Usage
It's a smart idea to have employees configure their devices to automatically hop on Wi-Fi when they're in the office or other corporate locations to help control data usage. Even so, you'll still want to track usage. If it's on your dime the reasons are obvious, but even if employees are required to pay for data, a tracking system will keep them aware of usage and whether they're close to getting hit with overages. A feature of MaaS360's MDM solution monitors data usage in real time and will alert when certain levels are reached.
This post was written by Hannah Collins. Hannah is a PR specialist with a knack for helping small businesses take their company to the next level. She also freelances as a writer and editor for several blogs.