How to manage mobile devices?

Summary:How do you manage multiple mobile devices? We're talking hundreds if not thousands here, not a handful that you might find in a small company.

How do you manage multiple mobile devices? We're talking hundreds if not thousands here, not a handful that you might find in a small company.

It's a problem, especially now. For the first time in computing history, the devices that consumers carry about in their pockets are more powerful and capable than many of the machines that they interact with on a daily basis at work. As a result, they're insisting on bringing those devices to work and using them there.

As I touched on in my last blog, the problem of social media at work and the security issues it raises are part of this picture, as those smartphones and laptops enable users to bypass any corporate structures and policies that in place. It's not just about social media either -- it's all the files and data you can just walk away with, and which could be very sensitive stuff.

And according to Ahmed Datoo, marketing VP from Zenprise, the worst culprits are the top execs, particularly the MD. Which one of the IT team will be brave enough to tell him (it usually is a him) that, no, he can't break company policy and remove the password on his iPad because it inconveniences him? Instead, he'll use it until he loses or breaks it, at which point the person with access to the company's most vital secrets has compromised the company's security, big time.

The problem gets worse when you consider that malware for smartphones is on the increase, which apart from the usual threats, could also for example lead to microphones and cameras being switched on without the user's knowledge. Imagine...

So what's the way forward? Datoo reckons that Europe and the US diverge markedly in their approaches. In Europe, corporations tend to say no to personal devices. But in the US, employees tend at least to get minimal security, as IT will promise to support the device in return for allowing them to install security software. There are no prizes for guessing which approach is the more successful.

No prizes either for guessing that Datoo's company claims to have a solution that works this way -- but you'll have to head to its site for puffery. However, Datoo did say that integration of the company's products with the rest of the IT team's systems wasn't much of an issue because the people who manage mobile devices are not the same people as those who run the rest of the systems. I'd like to test that assertion in the real world. Comments?

Topics: Networking

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Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger. As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites. I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceo... Full Bio

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