Forrester's Top 20 Mobile Device Management Best Practices For Enterprises

Forrester's Top 20 Mobile Device Management Best Practices For Enterprises

Summary: Forrester Research says there are 20 best practices that every enterprise deploying mobile devices - and who isn't, these days? - needs to follow.


Forrester Research analyst Benjamin Gray was the featured guest at a Sybase-hosted webinar last week (December 15). As a good guest, Gray came bearing interesting data and anecdotes about mobile uptake in the enterprise, as well his recommendations gleaned from hundreds of CIO interviews for the best ways to manage and secure your mobile devices.

Let's start with the data and anecdotes. There is a "huge influx" of mobile devices into enterprises, as illustrated by North American and Western European survey data from earlier this year showing that half of enterprises already support more than two mobile platforms, with 29% supporting three or more (click on the slides to see a larger version).

More than 50% of enterprises have bowed to worker pressure and support personally-owned smartphones. Among the rest, there are a lot of IT managers and "even C-level execs" now making it a priority to draw up such a policy and develop a management strategy.

Despite the influx of worker-owned devices, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile remain surprisingly strong, at least they did in Q1 when this survey was conducted. That won't stay the same for long, says Gray, who expects Android and iPhone to emerge quickly. But neither OS will ever dominate, he said. That means extra work for companies, but leaves individual workers the winner in this scenario.

As for best practices, Gray has 20 tips. First and foremost, enterprises should start by researching their user population and creating policies based on that. This could involve a baseline policy one that can apply to everyone from the delivery truck driver to the CEO, with stronger layers on top.

However, few enterprises today properly segment their user population. As a result, most IT organizations over-secure and over-manage 80% of their employees, but underprovision their 20% most important ones, said Gray.

Gray also advises enterprises to "embrace mobile-device-agnostic mobile device management solutions" (full disclosure: like Sybase's Afaria) in either software or service form, especially one that offers a "single pane of glass". And while he advises that companies put their telephone number on the locked screen to call if the device is lost, Gray doesn't believe in putting a corporate logo on the device, as it presents too much of a temptation to data thieves.

To combat hackers, IT managers need strict policies on passwords, failed authentications (fail ten times and the device data is automatically locked or even wiped) and data storage (encrypt all data).

Gray advises enterprises to invest in the "right multi-platform solution" as he believes it is a better long-term investment in terms of IT time and cost. He offers five other closing tips that enterprises can act upon now.


Does your organization implement some or most of these mobile best practices? What might be missing?

Topics: ÜberTech, Android, Google, iPad, Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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  • RE: Forrester's Top 20 Mobile Device Management Best Practices For Enterprises

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  • RE: Forrester's Top 20 Mobile Device Management Best Practices For Enterprises

    Mobile devices are changing the way many enterprises work, receive information, and remain competitive. The challenge is that the range of devices is growing as well as the number of individuals using personal devices for professional use. This poses a security and deployment issue for many organizations as they try to manage these mobile devices.

    Managing mobile devices is increasingly complex and challenging. Organizations have traditionally supported BlackBerry devices with limited range outside of that. However as this survey notes, use of other devices, including the explosion of enterprise use of iPhone and iPad, means that organizations must identify new solutions. The other issue is that employees are using personal mobile devices, which causes information security concerns and vulnerabilities for many businesses.

    This is a great list of mobile device management and security best practices. An integrated approach to mobile security including company security policies, training, and a mobile device management solution is critical for all enterprises. This will better enable IT staff to manage their deployed mobile devices, in-house apps, collect data points, as well as ensure overall fleet/device security.

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