The widespread use of mobile devices allows employees to easily work from remote locations. These devices also reduce a business’s operating costs since mobile devices are less expensive than their desktop counterparts. However, mobile devices still require management, which costs time and money. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) plan generally requires you to assess your requirements, estimate your costs and establish your company’s mobile device policies.
Mobile Device Management Requirements
The best strategy for managing mobile devices depends primarily on how your employees use these devices. At a minimum, they will need basic functions such as e-mail, scheduling and sharing personal contacts. If these functions are all your employees need, then the Exchange ActiveSync communications protocol by Microsoft may be adequate. It doesn’t have much overhead and doesn’t restrict you to mobile devices with a particular operating system or platform. Exchange ActiveSync is also easy to install on the network, and the devices require only minimal configuration.
However, you may need a more sophisticated mobile device management solution if you require additional capabilities from your mobile device or think you might need them in the future. Solutions from companies such as AirWatch, Good Technology and MobileIron can simplify the complexity of integrating multiple platforms across different networks. These solutions typically provide a single console from which you can perform MDM tasks such as compliance, inventory management and security. Some of them also include their own app store, allowing users to download and install approved apps.
A mobile device is registered on a network when you activate it, allowing your cellular carrier to bill you for that device. Your carrier can therefore provide basic information on MDM costs such as the fee for adding a new device. Your carrier will also need good reporting capabilities so you can perform a comprehensive analysis of your usage patterns over time to discover opportunities for savings.
A cellular usage plan that’s shared by multiple departments may be one way for small businesses to reduce the cost of their MDM. This type of plan allows a department to draw from a pool of minutes if it goes over its normal allotment. However, a shared usage plan requires the technical support team to work closely with the MDM manager to ensure everyone understands the company’s growth patterns for mobile device usage.
You must clearly post guidelines on the acceptable use of mobile devices at your company regardless of the policy you establish. Mobile device policies can generally be classified into the following categories:
- Policies that completely prohibit the personal use of company devices.
- Policies that allow company devices to be used for personal purposes.
- Policies that allow employees to conduct business on their own devices, commonly known as a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.
CSCi has been providing outsourced IT services for small businesses in San Diego for over 30 years. We can help you implement your own mobile device management plan whether it’s a company-owned or BYOD environment. Contact us today for a free assessment of your MDM needs.