SOP Friday: Mobile Device Management
Karl Palachuk / Karl Palachuk
MDM in the Small Business Space
We’ve all seen the massive explosion of mobile devices in the workplace. Laptops have been around forever, and cell phones have gotten smarter. Now we have mobile point of sale systems, tablets, and other devices. On top of that, we see more and more BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. That means companies are blurring the line between business-owned and employee-owned devices that are authorized in the workplace, and connected to the network.
In our own company, we’ve changed quite a bit. We used to buy and distribute cell phones to employees. These were fundamentally company-owned devices, but we fully acknowledged that employees used them for personal use. Some years back we switched this around. Now employees use their own phones and we pay a monthly stipend ($50). That’s enough to upgrade any phone to a data and calling plan that more than compensates for their work use of the phone.
But in making that transition, we have explicitly moved to a policy that allows employees to access company resources with employee-owned devices. Add laptops and iPads to the mix and we’re doing exactly what our clients are doing.
What exactly is MDM?
MDM – Mobile Device Management – is simply the extension of the RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) that we already deliver to desktops. It allows us to extend network security and management to all those BYOD devices.
Specifically, MDM involves some or all of the following functions:
– Block devices
– Configure email, calendar, and contacts
– Configure Wi-Fi and VPN profiles
– Distribute and manage applications
– Enforce compliance with HIPAA, SOX, etc.
– Protect the client network and data
– Remote wipe devices
Most of these functions are delivered over-the-air (OTA)
How Do You Deliver MDM?
Mobile Device Management is deployed as part of your RMM offering. If you use Continuum, Level Platforms, LabTech, or almost any other RMM vendor, they have agents for MDM. Some support pretty much any device and some just the most common. The number and variety of mobile devices continues to expand all the time, so it’s a difficult area to keep up with.
We have yet to see a huge, publicly visible attack on mobile devices. This gives everyone a sense of security. It’s a bit like the arrogance around Apple machines and anti-virus. Some day there will be a virus that causes billions of dollars worth of damage because people simply refuse to believe that their Mac can be affected. Mobile devices are much the same.
But security is not the only selling point. In addition to protecting data, MDM can save your time and money with configuration of new devices. And, as with regular RMM, it can reduce support costs overall.
The easiest sale is simply the fact that laptops and cell phones (tablets, Kindles, iPads) get lost or stolen. Locking out a device and performing a remote wipe can bring the client a great deal of peace of mind.
Bottom Line: Now is a great time to start offering MDM and pushing it to your clients.
Next week we’ll talk about BYOD more directly – and I’ll provide a sample BYOD/MDM policy that you can use as a “starter” document for building your own.
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About this Series
SOP Friday – or Standard Operating System Friday – is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business.
Find out more about the series, and view the complete “table of contents” for SOP Friday at SmallBizThoughts.com.
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Next week’s topic: BYOD – Bring Your Own Destruction
This is an audio program with the PowerPoint slides in pdf format.
Includes one MP3 audio file, one PowerPoint slide deckand one client-facing advertising example. All delivered in one zip file.
This seminar is intended for small computer consulting firms that want to learn how to develop profitable cloud service offerings for their smallest clients.
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All material Copyright (c) 2006-2012 Karl W. Palachuk unless otherwise noted.