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Too often, companies trying to deal with managing the security of employees’ mobile devices are focused on the wrong thing. They need to focus on the user, not on the device itself. That’s the theory of Steve Daly, president and chief executive officer of LANDesk Software,a provider of systems lifecycle management, endpoint security and IT service management solutions for mobile devicesand desktops.
“While it may present struggles today, the reality is that we are only in the early stages of a major change in the end user computing market,” Daly said. “In the next five years, mobile technologies will significantly and irreversibly change the ways worldwide businesses operate, much like the way previous disruptive technologies have.”
Daly said the influx of mobile devices is causing organizations to take an end user-focused approach that first considers the computing environment required for workers to productively and flexibly accomplish their jobs.
He offers five tips for managing the mobile work force.
Take an “endpoint-in” approach to mobile management. Data accessing behaviors now require an “endpoint-in” approach as opposed to the old data-center driven approach, since employees are using personal mobile devices to access corporate applications (company email, files, etc.) as well as personal applications (social networking, location-based services, gaming, etc.). With the expansion of personal and enterprise cloud-based programs, companies will need to allow for a more user-centric management approach in order to be fully aware of data accessibility points.
Take an end-user orientation for managing data delivery. In the past, IT worried about managing a user’s PC or laptop — now they need to worry about the growing variety of devices employees require to “do their jobs.” The user is now the endpoint, not the device. Solutions need to map data delivery not to a specific hardware asset, but first to the user and then, to all of their assets.
Look for solutions that manage the broadest platform set possible. In managing today’s mobile platforms, IT departments must consider Apple/iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Window 7 Mobile Series OS, Nokia/Symbian, Research in Motion (RIM)/BlackBerry OS and QNX, to name a few. Results from a recent study by Kelton Research indicate that IT managers anticipate supporting about eight different mobile platforms or operating systems by the end of 2011. Therefore, IT will need to reorient itself from focusing on a device to focusing on the platform, with the understanding that vendors will deliver multiple devices but hopefully a minimal amount of platforms.
Adopt mobile management solutions that don’t require active alerts. Accept the fact that some users will inappropriately bring new devices into your corporate environment as well as expose current devices to unsecured networks. In these cases, you need solutions that employ agentless discovery capabilities.
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Critical to the frontline management of smartphones and tablets is the ability to proactively intercept all devices and then take defined actions between those devices and the rest of your infrastructure.
Consolidate your vendors: Choose the solution that offers the most complete set of management tools. First, you need the capability to immediately block specific devices from corporate data if they pose a threat. Even more, you need a solution that automates the management of endpoints. In order to eliminate the unnecessary costs and time involved with deploying multiple supporting solutions, look for a solution that provides a comprehensive set of offerings that are manageable from a centralized location.
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