Organisations employing large teams of field based staff can become more efficient and cut costs by utilising advanced mobile device management systems. Here's ten reasons why large companies will benefit from reviewing their mobile device management strategy.
Mobile device management (MDM) refers to the processes for administrating both company and employee owned mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets which are used in the workplace or used in the field as part of an employee's work. For large organisations there are numerous reasons for implementing an MDM solution. At TEK Express, we help our customers to improve their MDM operation by helping them to:
Managing a large inventory of mobile devices can be time intensive and a distraction for your in-house IT team, where time may be better spent focused on the bigger picture. TEK Express offer an asset management solution designed to free up time for your IT team and eliminate those routine tasks.
Creating and delivering a successful IT strategy requires focus and a consistent approach towards achieving core objectives. For IT projects to remain on course and within budget, your team need to be free from the daily distractions that interrupt the flow of work. If you run a business with a large network of desktop and mobile devices, those devices can require intensive management. One option could be to set-up a separate IT support team, focused solely on maintaining assets and responding to routine issues. However, for many organisations, this is a costly endeavour involving intensive recruitment, training and human resources expenditure. An alternative option is to outsource your asset management to an external supplier.
If your company employs a large team of field based staff, you might have considered which technology is more suited to their needs - laptops or tablets? With more and more businesses moving their field staff over from laptop to tablet usage, we look at the pros and cons of doing so.
The popularity of tablet computers exploded with the introduction of Apple's iPad in 2010. Since then iOS platforms have continued to dominate in terms of enterprise mobile use, with a recent report indicating that the iPad accounts for 92% of business tablets. For staff on the move, the provision of tablet tech seems an obvious choice but is it the right one?
Various reports from leading security firms suggest that mobile malware is continually increasing. In the age of BYOD it is vitally important for organisations to have clear guidelines regarding mobile device usage in the workplace.
A recent study conducted by Alcatel-Lucent's Motive Security Labs found that mobile malware increased by 25% in 2014 with over 16 million devices infected. Whilst the majority of these devices were running Android, a small percentage of iOS devices have been found to be at risk too. In 2015, mobile malware infection rates are now on par with those affecting Windows computers.
Businesses with large IT asset portfolios need robust policies and procedures to ensure that expensive equipment is returned when an employee leaves the organisation.
Issuing and managing mobile devices to your field based staff is reliant upon having adequate asset managementprocesses in place to enable effective tracking of your inventory. Central to the concerns of retrieving your IT assets after an employee leaves your business is not just the cost of the device but the security of the information stored on it too. In order to ensure that your organisation is able to issue, manage and retrieve assets efficiently, you need to put in place policies, processes and systems.
No critical issues were found in our ability to safely manage our own and our client's data, following our recent information governance (IG) assessment.
As part of our on-going effort to improve our internal procedures, TEK Express recently contracted the Big Red Consulting Group to carry out an information governance assessment on our business. Our managing director, Sam Francis, was impressed by the outcome of the audit. In feedback to Big Red she says:
Our managing director, Sam Francis, recently appeared as a guest on BBC Sussex, discussing female equality in the workplace.
Those familiar with our story will know that TEK Express was founded in 2000 by Sam Francis and her brother Richard Ashdown. They have built a successful niche IT company, offering mobile device management solutions to a range of businesses with large teams of field based staff. However, Sam's path to independent success was partly motivated by inequality she experienced in the workplace whilst working as an IT employee for another organisation. Unequal pay and treatment led her to form TEK Express on values of equality and transparency.
As the BYOD ("bring-your-own-device") trend accelerates faster than the ability for many IT departments to manage it, enterprise mobility plans for 2015 need to focus on how best to manage and secure the proliferation of devices and channels.
Enterprise mobility is set to continue as a hot topic in the IT sector in 2015. With new, bigger and more powerful smartphone technology being introduced into the market, organisations need to be better equipped at how to manage these devices and ensure that data usage across the enterprise network is used efficiently.
For businesses with a large mobile device inventory, having the ability to remotely manage those devices is becoming increasingly important.
TEK Express has built a reputation on providing sophisticated hardware asset management, delivered through our core system Lucy. Lucy enables our customers to gain complete visibility on the performance and utilisation of their equipment, helping them to cut IT costs and reduce staff downtime. However, in addition to traditional asset management, we also provide equally sophisticated remote management tools which enable our clients to gain better control of devices whilst they are in-use and in the field. For businesses employing large teams of field based staff, having the ability to remotely manage an employee's device is becoming increasingly important. At TEK Express we are able to:
Google's recent update to Lollipop, the latest version of OS for Android, introduces a range of eagerly anticipated changes that users will be keen to road test. However, upgrading a tablet or smartphone to the latest version of OS can have a negative effect on the performance and usability of the device. For businesses employing large numbers of employees using Android devices as part of their work life, the upgrade to Lollipop needs to be managed carefully and in stages.
Whilst the Lollipop update has been available for several months, only a limited number of devices are compatible and able to run it. However, as more and more manufacturers modify their software and phones, more users are taking advantage of the recent big update to the operating system and downloading it to their tablets and phones. For businesses, this process needs to be managed carefully by your IT department or service provider. A poorly managed upgrade process can lead to:
Repairs and replacements form a costly line in the average IT budget. For businesses employing large teams of staff who use mobile devices, this can have a significant impact on your bottom line. However, IT spend can be reduced through proactive support for your inventory.
You can extend the lifespan of your business mobile devices in numerous ways. Here are some of our top recommendations, ones that we actively encourage our clients to consider:
The initial cost of introducing BYOD to your organisation shouldn't exceed the long-term ROI.
TEK Express's own Allie Finnie attended the IPEXPO recently in London where she met John Jackson, the CIO for the London Borough of Camden. Mr Jackson told a seminar group in which Allie attended that he expects his organisation will save £80,000 this year, £60,000 specifically on IT, as a result of adopting a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy. The road to savings for the London Borough of Camden began 3 years ago when they started to roll-out a BYOD and agile working scheme, with Mr Jackson describing the traditional methods of desktop working as "not sustainable".
BYOA ("Bring-Your-Own-App) is a closely connected relative to BYOD ("Bring-Your-Own-Device") and presents numerous challenges for the enterprise.
According to a recent industry report from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, mobile applications dominated enterprise mobility spending in 2014 with 62.5% of businesses investing in this area. However, on the flip-side to authorised business applications is the thorny issue of BYOA ("Bring-Your-Own-App), an offshoot trend from BYOD. BYOA presents numerous issues, even for businesses that have put in place mobility policies dictating use of personal apps in the workplace. Like it or not, employees will often bring their own cloud based apps to work, often in spite of company regulations.
Employee-owned mobile devices used in the workplace present a threat to the safety of corporate data and must be secured. We look at the options for protecting your network.
Like many forms of technology, mobile devices are a target waiting to be attacked. If you allow your employees to use their own devices at work and to access company data via these devices, it is vitally important to have stringent security policies in place to protect your network. If you are currently worried about the use of mobile devices in your organisation and require advice on securing them, you should consider the following:
Outsourcing IT support has many perceived challenges, however, there are numerous advantages to be gained when the process is managed correctly.
Outsourcing any aspect of your IT operation creates various challenges. There may be resistance from your in-house IT team, fears over the compatibility of your current team with your chosen provider, or concerns from your financial office on the cost of the process. At TEK Express we have allayed the fears of many of our customers by ensuring a seamless transition to working with us, with very little downtime and with a lot of attention to detail. Furthermore we have focused on forging strong partnerships with our customers' in-house IT staff, ensuring that we compliment your current operation rather than oppress it. If you are currently looking at outsourcing IT support for your business, you may be wondering what the main benefits are for doing so. Based on our own experience and on the feedback from our customers, we think the following points are key:
For smaller businesses, outsourcing IT support may be the only sensible option. For larger organisations employing both desk based and mobile staff, the decision may be less clear.
Start-up businesses and smaller companies often lack a trained IT employee. As a result, administration of the company server and management of all desktop and mobile devices often falls to the most tech-literate member of the office. In the long-run this is never ideal as growing businesses require more staff and more technology support, causing significant distractions for the tech-literate guy who just wants to get on with his or her main job.
As mobile device management specialists, TEK Express has built a reputation for helping businesses employing large teams of field staff be more efficient and cost effective. To support our core asset management service, we are now able to help our clients share and edit their data more efficiently and safely.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new secure file sharing service, designed for the enterprise and delivered in partnership with a leading enterprise class online storage specialist. Our clients have relied upon us to ensure the fast replacement of their hardware in the field and to provide accurate reporting on those assets to minimise risk and downtime. However, we are often approached by customers who are concerned about the safety of their business data when used by mobile devices in the field. Whilst we have always been able to provide a secure service for our clients, our new file sharing service provides numerous benefits in addition to heightened security, including:
Improving IT field support for your staff and all the mobile devices they use is key to improving their productivity and engagement.
Employing large teams of field based staff can have many pitfalls without the right management strategy in place. Left unsupported, field staff can easily become demotivated and less productive. However, there is much you can do as an employer to engage your staff through the mobile devices they use such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Improving your IT field support for these devices is likely to improve the productivity of your staff too. There are a number of ways you can do this:
TechTarget.com recently reported that WebView vulnerabilities in older versions of Android are putting the majority of Android devices at risk. As a result, safeguarding company data has become more of a challenge for organisations with a large mobile device inventory. With TEK Express's MDM solution you can identify devices running older versions of Android quickly.
Hundreds of millions of Android devices are potentially at risk following Google's announcement that it will no longer provide patches for vulnerabilities, as recently reported on TechTarget.com. WebView is a core component of the Android operating system and is used to render web pages in the standard browser for Android devices. According to security researcher Tod Beardsley, Google will no longer provide patches for known WebView vulnerabilities found in Android versions 4.3 and older.
A lack of control over your IT inventory can lead to increased costs, compliance breaches and poor performance.
To gain the maximum benefit from your IT inventory a clear view of all your hardware and software assets is required. Without adequate tracking and monitoring technology in place, your IT costs are likely to spiral out of control and create further compliance and performance issues for your business. For medium to large size enterprises, it is essential to gain complete visibility over all your IT assets to ensure they deliver the best possible value. The effects of poor asset management are far reaching and include: