There are many benefits from a mobile workforce — from greater flexibility and improved information sharing to increased productivity.
But on-the-go workforces also create new challenges. How can enterprises connect more devices, apps and data to enable business productivity while simultaneously managing security and cost?
These challenges are especially acute for companies that have specialized compliance and reporting requirements. These businesses, in specific, need to carefully evaluate their enterprise mobility management (EMM) options to understand where their data resides, where it goes and how it gets delivered.
More broadly, EMM can help all businesses that have bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
With many employees using their own mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs, businesses need to develop secured platforms and related monitoring requirements.
Future-Proofing Endpoints & Technologies
IT decision makers need to develop a multi-endpoint strategy and also manage different mobile device ownership models in the same organization.
The market for enterprise-ready mobile cross-platform development has already opened up in a big way. Now every organization must future proof their investment by being ready to manage what could be the next generation of OS versions, device types or Internet of Things (IoT) components.
They also have to be capable of securing data delivery to wearables as well as securing connection of sensors from IoT enabled devices.
This requires an EMM solution that has the flexibility to manage multiple types of devices and operating systems — and one that can also handle future requirements without adding complexity to the deployment.
Many organizations also employ EMM across a variety of risk profiles and use scenarios.
These companies need to address environments from BYOD to COPE (Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled) to COBO (Corporate-Owned, Business-Only) to any combination or mix of approaches.
Device management policy requirements may also vary from business unit to business unit, country-to-country or even employee-to-employee. Organizations must be able to manage devices based on employee role, updating polices, for example, when an employee moves to a regulated position that may require auditing of their communications for compliance.
Managing All Ownership Models
While BYOD has a place in some organizations’ mobility plans, those in regulated industries have strict requirements that may make it risky to allow the use of personally owned devices. It just depends on the environment and business case.
BYOD is not for everyone. The primary tool to support BYOD users will be a multi-OS EMM platform that can support user privacy while delivering on the security needs for the enterprise data that will reside on the mobile device.
Leading multi-OS EMM platforms will include a method to deliver secure applications and content to the mobile device such as an application container.
One fundamental risk of BYOD is content retention and management. Corporate information stored on personal mobile devices can be inaccessible to a company’s administrators, subjecting businesses to severe risks, including hefty financial penalties.
The best way for maximum security is to build a better BYOD strategy by deploying corporate owned, personally enabled (COPE) enterprise mobility model as an alternative.
COPE and BYOD share a central objective: to fortify workers with a mobile device that can be used securely and simultaneously for both work and personal communications. The difference between the two models is how they approach this goal.
A BYOD approach centers on extending the use of a consumer device to the work realm.
COPE, by contrast, starts from a work-first perspective, with IT carving out, or pre-configuring, a portion of the device for personal use. From a management and security perspective, it is easy to understand why COPE is increasingly viewed as an attractive alternative to BYOD.
But all ownership models should be supported by a modern multi-OS EMM platform.
Secure Apps are Driving Productivity
Another important part in a good EMM strategy has to do with securing enterprise apps.
Today, as businesses look to drive productivity and efficiency in the organization through mobile, the role of applications has broadened significantly.
Gartner, in a recent report on "The Enterprise App Explosion," noted that market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations' capacity to deliver them by the end of next year.
Large and medium sized companies are increasingly adapting to the mobile world and realizing the need to offer smartphone access to their line-of-business apps, as well as the benefit of rolling out their own enterprise-to-customer apps.
While an influx of devices created complexity for enterprises, this newer explosion of applications has further compounded it.
Addressing Your Mobility Options
Enterprises have access to a wealth of applications that can help employees manage their jobs in a far efficient and effective manner.
As the demand for business critical tools increases, there is the additional complexity of incorporating these apps within the existing standards and policies of the organization. To successfully embrace and benefit from the power of enterprise mobile applications, organizations need a well-crafted app deployment strategy.
Along with the development of apps, distribution, security and management are the other key elements to focus on.
The next phase of enterprise mobility growth is expected to deliver business-transforming opportunities to enterprises of all sizes and requirements.
Mobility as an enabler for enterprises has become a business imperative to enhance productivity, foster innovation and provide competitive advantage.
Next generation mobile environments will require evolved future-ready, multi-OS EMM platforms, and enterprises should look to apps, flexibility in managing all ownership models and simple deployment as the starting point for their strategy.
Title image by Hannah Wei