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Best Practices for Embracing Mobile Devices

14 Mar 2016 by Grant Fjermedal

If you were looking for the definition of ‘disruptive technology,’ a good entry would be: mobile devices.

Mobile devices are transforming how we live, work and play.

Properly harnessed, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices can provide productivity boosts to midmarket organizations. Yet, from an IT standpoint, the flourishing of mobile devices — including the bring your own device (BYOD) movement — has made it ever more challenging to secure corporate infrastructure and the precious data stored there.

All of this means that midmarket organizations contemplating the most efficient and secure ways of integrating mobile devices into workflows should conduct a thorough discovery process to see what solutions might best help them achieve their goals.

Let’s talk — across the organization.

A great way to begin your mobile devices discovery process is by creating a cross-functional team that pools together the needs, insights and wisdom from across your organization. In addition to some obvious team members such as IT and security, you’ll want to have a good representation across your organization. You might include sales, marketing, customer service, HR, procurement, development, distribution and any other group that might use mobile — or be impacted by it.

HR may have a dual role on such a team. First defining how HR employees could benefit from tablets, smartphones and other devices. The second role may be in guiding how use of mobile devices — including BYOD — may need to fit with existing, and yet-to-be-defined corporate mobility policies. Legal presence on the cross-functional team can provide ongoing guidance as mobility policies are explored, as well as when purchasing or leasing decisions are made. Legal may be especially helpful if considering BYOD policies including control and ownership of corporate data sitting on a privately owned device.

Get that in writing.

When it comes to mobile, it’s good to have a set of policies and guidelines — in writing and available to all. Your cross-functional team can provide a harvest of wisdom from across the organization that can help formulate the policies and guidelines to govern use of mobile devices, whether furnished by your organization, or by BYOD employees.

Articulate mobile device policies and guidelines, help avoid capricious and uneven policy enforcement when dealing with potentially sensitive areas such as privacy, trust and security. HR and legal should be important players in drafting your mobile device policies and guidelines because — especially with BYOD — things can become less than crystal clear in a hurry.

This is an area where an independent third-party advisor — as well as plenty of outside research — should be considered for additional guidance.

Security is calling.

Security should always be a top concern — and with mobile, even more so. Exact security needs will vary from one organization to another, and be dependent upon the types of devices being deployed, how they will be used, and the degree to which they will need to integrate with back-end and cloud-based infrastructure.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) which allows you to secure, control and restrict access to data on a mobile device adds an important layer of security, as does multi-factor authentication and encryption. Some organizations have tightened security by moving from a BYOD approach to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) to ensure use of MDM, encryption and other security measures while still providing employees with a range of device choices to boost satisfaction and productivity.

Learn more.

To learn more about midmarket devices discovery — including best practices for discovery and pitfalls to avoid — download our Insight whitepaper,  "10 Best Practices for Embracing Mobile Devices."