Has your organization succumbed (or hopefully embraced) the move to mobility? Have they gone as far as to support a bring your own device orBYOD initiative, allowing staffers to use their personal smartphone or tablet for work purposes? How has the support through the entire process been?

Being on the IT side, you might have a positive outlook on what you have already done. Whereas an end user may be left confused, uninformed or feeling not supported. Then again, you may be in the school of thought that “I don’t know what I don’t know” when it comes to the whole mobile deployment process which might equate to a one sided approach.

For IT, the “I don’t know what I don’t know” may be them not implementing the correct mix of security policies on these devices for their organization. It might also be the missing of key components to rolling out a mobile strategy for supporting/and empowering employees.

According to CDW’s 2013 Mobility at Work: Making Personal Devices a Professional Asset report, 76 percent of organizations have implemented guidelines for mobile device use, 69 percent require passwords for network logins, and 42 percent enforce use of screen locks on devices. Those are the more basic functions that are clearly visible to the end user.

Still, what about other requirements and rules around using devices when connecting to a company network or having corporate information on a device? Per the CDW report, 22 percent of company’s limit what applications a user can put on their device and 24 percent utilize geo-location and geo-tracking services to recover lost or stolen devices.

Organizations have a need for a certain level of security associated with their corporate data. However, there is always the fear of being too intrusive when dealing with personal devices. Another issue is, once the deployment process has happened, most end users don’t know what it actually means for them and their devices. Only 42 percent of the BYOD users even know about the guidelines IT departments have implemented and since 76 percent of IT professionals said they have guidelines in place, there is a major communications gap there.

So how can organizations make sure they have the best plan to undertake the onslaught of mobile devices from a security, support and even enablement perspective? For this, CDW offers what it calls the 5 Pillars of Total Mobility Management. It’s comprised of the following components: Plan, Enable, Protect, Support and Empower.

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  1. Plan: Don’t try to go it alone. Most IT professionals are either forced into supporting mobile devices they haven’t prepared for or just jump in feet first. A little guidance never hurt anyone. In fact, just being able to have a starting point can be a huge help (even after the fact). And if you feel you don’t have the resources for the undertaking, then why not have someone else with intricate knowledge of the industry help you fully develop a mobile strategy and policy plus work up a 30/60/90 day plan.
  2. Enable: How do you handle all the requests for getting mobile devices in the hands of end users? Help is available for this as well. For example, CDW has developed a Mobility Management Portal that offers cross-carrier device selection from a predefined catalog of mobile devices and accessories. And if we are talking about non-stock carrier enabled devices like cellular embedded notebooks, tablets, routers, etc., a full service third-party vendor can help with the deployment process around activations there too.
  3. Protect: There are lots of components to consider to make sure that all the right corporate safe guards are in place. Solutions here include mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM) and mobile expense management (MEM). All of these management services can be made available through a dashboard, which allows IT managers to quickly get a snapshot of the mobile devices on their network and take swift action — such as wiping a lost tablet — in a user-friendly interface. It is even important to go as far as to securing communications in regulated industries like healthcare, government and financial by using a secure messaging platform.
  4. Support: While the vast majority of organizations offer either company-owned mobile devices or BYOD, according to the survey only 21 percent say they are going to increase internal support staff for mobile initiatives. Even here, companies don’t have to go it alone because remote 24/7 remote help desk support is available to mobile users within the organization. Such help desks can also offer remote MDM administration, including configuration and setup, ongoing management and compliance monitoring and alerts.
  5. Empower: Mobility’s productivity engine doesn’t lie in the hardware — it’s in the apps. Full service third-party vendors can help with both best-in-class and framework applications, which are based on environments that help developers write across multiple platforms. The trend of mobility is growing and users are going to want to do more with their devices than just access email. According to Mobile Enterprise’s Mobility Outlook 2014 supplement, 54 percent of all companies will increase their budgets for mobile apps this year. A full service third party provider can help take the vetting process out out of the equation for choosing a qualified app developer to help with this boom.

While end users “just want to connect their devices” and the IT departments “just want to make sure they cover their security bases”, there is a happy medium for both and being able to utilize a trusted resources to help guide you through the maze of mobility will make everyone happier in the end.

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