In IT circles, there is a lot of talk about the benefits of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies for companies and enterprises.
The latest buzz around the IT water cooler tends to revolve around the myriad management issues and common misconceptions that arise when organizations attempt to distribute and deploy enterprise apps on an ever-expanding assortment of employee-owned devices.
The challenges associated with BYOD and company app deployments are certainly daunting: security (data protection); device configurations that comply with organization policies; the creation and management of device profiles; as well as potential salary and overtime issues. There's also the necessary establishment of routines for monitoring and reporting on devices.
And these are just some of the top-of-mind concerns IT departments face in the Wild West of BYOD mobility.
But with today’s technologies, it’s no longer necessary for organizations to choose between a BYOD policy and the successful deployment of enterprise apps. By leveraging a combination of MDM, MAM and best practices, companies can effectively manage the use of applications in increasingly complex and diverse mobility environments.
Why application management trumps MDM
Mobile Device Management (MDM) presents a decent solution for managing multiple types of devices (e.g. iPhone, Android, Windows), regardless of whether the devices are company-issued or employee-owned.
MDM still requires substantial IT involvement in devices as well as the ability to manage business-oriented apps on devices. From tracking usage to managing updates and licensing to recovering or wiping data when employees exit the company or lose their devices, effective MDM requires heavy involvement from IT personnel, and due to the expansive nature of the deployment, often a lot of input on its deployment from senior staff or management.
MDM is also a fairly invasive technology to install and use on the device, with potential for resistance from the users because in many regards, the device they own is no longer under their control.
Mobile Application Management (MAM) often provides a better solution to the BYOD/company app deployment dilemma. By directly managing apps rather than devices, the company, IT stakeholders and the employee all share in the device management process.
Unlike MDM, MAM solutions (e.g. Apperian EASE, Airwatch, HappTique) don’t require total IT device control, but allow IT to handle functions related to specific business-owned data including security, updating, monitoring and other tasks.
An easy entry into an optimized and secure BYOD/company deployment environment is through the creation of a mandatory, bespoke application deployed via MAM for all devices that check for configurations prior to granting network access or access to other company resources.
Although it can be a bit tricky to leverage this approach for Android devices, some of the recent enterprise developments by Motorola and Samsung indicate things are improving with respect to Android’s outlook in the workplace.
Sound company policy is a prerequisite for success in any BYOD operating environmental. But the right combination of policy, best practices and MDM/MAM solutions has the potential to create a level playing field for BYOD and company-issued devices, facilitating the seamless deployment of information through apps designed to deliver performance support.