The continued proliferation of smartphones and tablets into our lives means that an increasing number of these devices are brought to work and hooked onto corporate networks. Many SMBs are grappling with how to handle an influx of these highly portable computing devices.
To help small and midsize businesses manage these devices while simultaneously leveraging them for productivity, SMBs must learn the basics of BYOD management.
Make Use of MDM
Mobile device management (MDM) used to be an expensive and complicated technology that didn’t work well. Fortunately, MDM products have matured significantly over the last couple of years. The number of products on the market has put the pressure on established players such as MobileIron and Zenprise.
Business deployments that are too small for the use of MDM software, but use Microsoft Exchange, will be interested to know that Exchange offers some basic device management capabilities. From the Outlook Web interface (OWA), users can initiate a remote device wipe, block a mobile device, and initiate a device recovery password. This works for both Exchange Online and the on-premise deployment of Exchange Server.
Budget a Stipend for Buying Smartphones, Tablets
An alternative strategy to buying a smartphone or tablet for employees would be to give a stipend. This should be based on the realistic cost of an actual device. Having a stipend gives employees the flexibility of buying a device that they like and will put to good use. If you’re confused about the many types of tablet platforms out there, check out my blog post, “Choosing the Right Tablet for Your SMB,” for more information.
Have a List of Recommended Apps
Rather than leaving the decision up to employees of which apps and cloud services to use, it may be a better idea for SMBs to list a number of recommended apps for productivity. Obviously, you should first test and verify they will work well with the company’s internal processes and adhere to its IT policies.
Some form of support should also be offered, where possible, which may include documentation on how to set up and use the apps, and may extend to technical assistance.
In some cases, SMBs may need to deploy internal backend apps or make configuration changes to firewalls to properly enable the use of these apps within their organization.