Cloud-Based App Management: IT and Employee MDM Freedom

December 16, 2013

Mobile device management (MDM), now a well-developed staple of businesses across the globe was in its infancy built on the foundation of the patterns and practices laid by classic desktop IT support. Over the last 10 years, the emergence of large mobile work-fleets has required enterprise IT to educate themselves on how to manage hand-held devices en masse. Thankfully, their original education came without too much shock to the established desktop system; enter the original, near-universal MDM: Blackberry. IT everywhere easily accepted Blackberry’s suite of server management and device controls because it so closely mimicked what IT was accustomed to in managing desktop computers: uniformity, conformity, and control being key.

As the consumerization of mobility has seeped into enterprises across the globe, IT and CIOs have had little choice but to accept and implement devices other than Blackberry’s solid suite. This consumer-driven behavior has led to a more agile and diverse kind of MDM being developed and deployed by enterprises, all to varying degrees of success. Modern MDM can, at its very worst, be cumbersome and needlessly strict in limiting device functionality. Employees feel this tension most of all and thus out of the natural ebb of discontent and choice, the next generation of mobile device management found its genesis: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

While theoretically promising more employee freedom, BYOD as an MDM solution can struggle to meet the changing expectations of employees, who are now very used to being the sole manager of their personal mobile devices. Mobility itself is changing on a philosophical level: no longer are mobile devices just phones or tools, they are the keepers and instruments of user identity. This new notion of mobility is, unfortunately for IT, not checked at the front desk when employees clock in.

With extremely sensitive customer relationship management (CRM) and analytic data already being safely stored in the cloud by many businesses, it is looking like enterprises are feeling more and more comfortable with the notion of cloud storage as a safe strategic tool. Could cloud-app-storage be the compromise needed to bridge both IT and employee mobile-demands?

Even though the diversity of mobile manufacturers is lessening each year, as a successful entrance into the OEM industry becomes nearly impossible, employees under a BYOD program will still choose a variety of devices causing headaches of compliance inside the MDM realm. The ideal it seems is a device-agnostic system that still allows a BES-level of uniformity, control, and conformity.

To achieve the mobile-goals of variety of choice, user-independence, air-tight data security, and ease of use, it looks like enterprises need a system that just plain ignores the device. The cloud allows access to information that is not stored on a piece of hardware. If nothing is stored on employee devices, IT has nothing to manage except absolute control over data. Without the headaches of device management, IT can give or take data with impunity via the cloud as advised by management. Ultimately, isn’t the goal of MDM to secure corporate data and not device babysitting? Ideally, the enterprise cloud becomes a sealed ecosystem where corporate data can be moved from app to app rather than living in the insecure guts of a device just asking to be lost and/or destroyed.

The MDM landscape, now that it has been firmly established as a necessity to enterprise, will only continue to accelerate its metamorphosis and adaptation. One thing that will not change is the need for objective third-party wireless wisdom. Put mindWireless’ decades of wireless experience to use so that your company can flourish in the face of inevitable change.