In my lifetime, I have seen some big changes in information technology. And, like most learning curves, each innovation feeds the next wave of discovery and application resulting in exponential growth.
It took a long time from the invention of the typewriter in the 19th century (no, I was not alive then) until word processing and personal computers arrived in the 1980s. It took a lot less time for the Internet to enter the modern office. Now, in less than a decade, mobile devices have become the norm in most offices.
I don’t know what The Next Big Thing will be — wearable devices, ubiquitous videophones, nanotechnology, who knows? But, I bet whatever turns out to be the next wave of IT office tools, it will be mobile. Which means that managed service providers (MSPs) will need to not only service their clients’ current needs, but to anticipate their future priorities.
Read on to learn more about the new challenges that come along with mobility and BYOD, and how Managed IT Services can help businesses manage and meet those new demands.
Mobility Management is no Simple Matter
Mobility management is increasingly taking up more time, and IT departments are having trouble staying ahead of the curve. Managed service providers are helping to fill the gap between what enterprises need to run their organizations and what their IT people can give them. Workers today expect instant online access to enterprise data via the same types of mobile devices that they use away from the workplace — all of which has added to the complexity of mobility management.
What simply used to be mobile device management, where employees were issued a company smartphone and a passcode, has evolved into whole subsections of mobile issues:
- Device management, including, but not limited to:
- support for configuration
- content management
- device tracking
- policy and compliance
- Application management challenges such as platform management controls for both native and cloud-based applications
- Network management that entails:
- system oversight
- network information monitoring
- network access control for mobile devices
- Security management that extends beyond basic remote wipe and lock capabilities
And each enterprise is unique. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Meridian Director of Enterprise Solutions Jordan Arnold told me recently. Not only do mobility solutions vary from enterprise to enterprise, they can vary within organizations, as different employees require different levels of mobile access. Top executives require more data access, and therefore more intricate networking and security management. Other employees might only need basic word processing and email applications, added Jordan.
SMBs Face Unique Mobility Challenges
The intricacies of all this mobile management are anything but simple. Large enterprise not only have dedicated IT departments, but they often have key personnel dedicated solely to mobile management services (MMS). Most small-to-midsize (SMB) organizations don’t have that luxury. That is why more and more SMBs are partnering with managed service providers to manage their mobility systems. A service level agreement (SLA) with the right MSP partner can streamline an organization’s mobile systems while helping to reduce operating expenses, increase security, and improve overall employee efficiency and job satisfaction.
Because many employees both want and are allowed to bring their own mobile devices (BYOD) to the workplace, a comprehensive mobile management system should be both device and operating system agnostic. MSPs whose goal is to develop the best mobility solution for each individual client, and not just sell the client specific goods and services, realize the challenges presented by today’s mobile environment.
The right mobility solution can help an enterprise control network access, while protecting against viruses and hackers. It also will help limit the organizational impact of compromised data due to lost or stolen devices, thereby bolstering business continuity. Mobile agility, flexibility, and scalability are essential ingredients in any mobile system that any mobile management system should incorporate.