Mobile devices come in a variety of different flavors today but they have been around for many years. However, it hasn’t been until recently that they have gained acceptance and support by most companies. From an IT perspective, this has come with some unique challenges.
What You Need to Know About Mobile Device Support
Device similarity is important
When providing employees mobile devices, including cell phones, it is extremely difficult to keep everyone on the exact same device. When employees are allowed to bring their own device (BYOD), this becomes impossible.
In spite of this, limit the models or types of devices your organization will support. Obviously, the wider the variety of devices, the more difficult it is for the IT staff to provide high quality support.
Use devices fully supported by your important software
Do your research to learn which mobile devices are supported by your key vendors. This could be your line of business application, Microsoft Exchange or a cloud-based document storage service.
Make sure users are aware of mobile device policies
There is a lot of potential for abuse when it comes to employer-provided mobile devices. For instance, several years ago I had a coworker go on vacation to Mexico. The roaming charges for the following monthly bill were incredible. Unless you want to gamble with your monthly bills, you must create an acceptable use policy for all employer provided mobile devices.
Take security seriously
Since mobile devices were first introduced, most IT people have ignored mobile device security. To a certain degree, this is understandable. Until recently, mobile devices didn’t have the necessary software and capabilities to be a real threat. However, today’s mobile devices can do more, access more and store more than ever before. Couple this with the sheer numbers of devices and you have a large pool of relatively easy targets.
Decide how to handle personal devices
I’m sure it has happened already, an employee asks you to set up his or her iPhone to receive corporate email. Make sure you create a policy regarding whether you will allow personal mobile devices to interact with company resources and how to handle it when/if the employee leaves. If that device belongs to that exiting employee, you obviously cannot keep it. So, you need make sure you have a policy regarding removal of any and all corporate data. Sometimes this can be done willingly, but you need to plan for the time when you need to do it remotely. The trick here is to do it without wiping out their personal information. My advice is that you should only allow the use of company-issued devices. It will save you a lot of headaches.
Plan to deal with lost and broken devices
Assuming you take my advice and only allow company-issued mobile devices, you need to make a plan for lost and broken devices. Too many companies forget to plan for these inevitable events. Granted, some devices have built-in security and remote wiping capabilities but, there is still the cost associated with obtaining a new device. There is also a cost associated with repairing a damaged mobile device, even when insurance has been purchased.
Keep up with threats to your mobile devices
Historically, viruses and malware have not been a big problem for mobile devices. However there is an increasing number of threats attacking mobile device platforms. Due to the prevalence, I don’t see this stopping.
Be aware of the impact mobile devices can have on your network
Because you don’t see them all the time and they are not the primary computing device used by employees, it is easy to forget about the impact they have you your network. Without careful planning, these devices can cripple your wireless network and suck up your available bandwidth.
KLH – Minneapolis IT Managed Services Provider
Scott Johnson COO, KLH 651-328-6121