An unprecedented number of users carry mobile devices. In the U.S. alone, a full quarter of internet users only ever access the web from a mobile device, and that trend is being seized upon by the advertising sector where mobile ad spending is expected to grow up to $20.6 billion by 2015. One place where the use of mobile devices is growing most rapidly is in the workplace.
By 2014, it is anticipated that the number of internet capable, employee owned mobile devices being used for work will more than double, climbing from almost 150 million to 350 million. Such a change should be prompting an increase in the number of mobile device management systems being implemented by businesses, but shockingly few companies have chosen to pursue better security for company information being stored on employee devices. In fact, a recent study shows that fewer than 25 percent of businesses with bring your own device policies have specific security programs.
Device management software is critical to the protection of company information, especially in the undesirable event that an employee loses a device or has it stolen. There are scores of options in terms of mobile device management systems, but many companies find it difficult to decide on one. Here, we’ll walk through the process of evaluating mobile device management systems, hopefully providing some helpful insights about what to look for.
- Develop a Plan: Before selecting an MDM, a company has to agree on a strategy. Some companies allow employees to bring their own devices while others opt to provide devices that can also be used for personal activities. A company choosing to allow employee device selection will need to choose a mobile device management program that works with most major operating systems, while companies providing devices will only need to worry about one. Currently, Android powers the largest number of smartphones around the world at 250 million, but in office numbers could demonstrate a different trend. IT departments will have to be aware of their employees’ current devices and their preferences.
- Think About Numbers: There’s a big difference between managing ten devices and managing thousands. Choosing between on premise and off premise management solutions will depend largely on the expense related to servers. Any company needing to manage more than two or three hundred devices will need to think about simultaneous registration issues, significantly narrowing the field of MDM options.
- Where’s It Going to Be?: Some IT departments feel perfectly comfortable with a cloud based solution, while others feel more comfortable with an on premise option. Could based solutions can be cheaper, faster, and require less maintenance, but many do not trust the security of cloud solutions. Decide which is your preference before selecting a mobile device management solution.
Choosing between mobile device management systems is not an easy process, especially as the industry continues to change. Regardless, it is essential for companies allowing employees to use their own devices to implement some kind of security solution. With a little planning, it can be easier to narrow down the options, but literally hundreds of options exist. It’s best to develop a plan first and compare options to your list of requirements. A system that doesn’t meet your needs is as good as no system at all.