Mobile Device Deployment

An Introductory Discussion

Stephen Nardone

In 2011, we saw the sale of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones exceed the sales of personal computers for the first time. Sales of mobile devices are predicted to dwarf PC sales in just a few short years. Many people are traveling with a tablet and/or smartphone instead of a notebook – and they are getting their work done on the road just fine. Mobile devices are clearly the future of business, so how are you going to integrate them into your infrastructure in this Post PC era?

First of all, mobile device deployment for your organization requires a solid plan of action. Some important factors to consider when developing your mobile strategy include:

• What is the amount of wireless bandwidth you’ll need, along with access points to support these devices?
• How will you manage mobile devices – and keep them secure?
• Is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) the right solution for your organization?
• Who in the organization needs mobile devices and what kind of access will they need?

The first step in any mobility initiative is to ensure proper security, protect corporate data, and comply with regulations if required. With so many different devices, products, and methods available the choices can seem complex.

BYOD is by far one of most daunting initiatives IT organizations struggle with today. In most cases the biggest difficulty is trying to secure and separate corporate and personal data. This issue is further exasperated by the abundance of devices on the market. In many cases, we advise customers to limit the types of devices allowed access to simplify management; for example, only allow iOS devices and only the latest version of Android. But even that has a lot of device management considerations you will need to contend with, as every manufacturer ships with their own customized version of Android.

Next, you’ll need to consider how to manage all of these devices: will a cloud-based solution work for you, or do you need an on-premise management system? Both are viable in any environment, and both pretty much offer all the same controls and options. For cloud solutions, you’ll have to consider security, control of the data, and the idea of dependence on someone else’s infrastructure. Most on-premise solutions have an initial perpetual one time license cost per device with only support costs that are recurring. In cloud solutions, you usually pay a lower monthly per device fee billed annually every year. Over the long term an on-premise solution will cost less but you’ll pay more initially.

Most MDM tools have the same standard base of device controls that are provided by the API’s that manufacturers make available. Many of the vendors have provided options that greatly enhance these controls and added very useful features. To name a few:

• Secure document sharing by leveraging Sharepoint or through a cloud-based repository
• Application wrapping to secure in-house custom apps
• Integrated VPN Solutions
• Secure Browsers and Email Clients
• Support for BlackBerry

While most implementations may not require these options initially, as their mobile solutions evolve so will the level sophistication and the need for these add-ons.

To learn more about the advantages of mobile device deployment, check out our webinar. Brian Gaudet, Senior Systems Engineer at Connection, will highlight what the Apple iPad can do in the business arena, and why it may be the ideal tablet for your next mobile deployment. In addition, I’ll detail more about how we can help you successfully deploy a fleet of mobile devices.