The National Retail Federation’s Big Show was the biggest one yet, as 35,000 retail professionals flooded the Javits Center in New York City to see the newest retail technology and to stay up on industry trends. From digital signage to same-day delivery to mobile payments, the many breeds of technologies for bricks-and-mortar stores dominated conversation at the Big Show. But one key question remained unanswered: How do retailers accomplish it all?
Over the next eight months or so, retailers large and small will be planning, buying, and installing new technologies in anticipation of the 2015 holiday rush. But some organizations are better prepared than others to take the reins and lead the charge. Is your organization ready to start a major tech push, from planning and buying to rollout and support?
The health of your IT environment stems from your IT infrastructure, professionals, and policies. Ask yourself the following questions to check up on whether your IT department is fit enough to start implementing the newest retail technology. Continue Reading…
Bring your own device (BYOD) has slashed hardware and maintenance costs and fueled mobile productivity at companies large and small, and adoption is accelerating. Gartner estimates that by 2020, 45 percent of organizations will be all BYOD, while 40 percent will offer a mixed program, and only 15 percent won’t have any BYOD program in place.
But while BYOD can be a positive policy for numerous industries, it’s not going well for all organizations, especially those that have ignored the potential hazards associated with the policy.
Last year I discussed two unexpected consequences of BYOD, but since then the risks have expanded as available technology diversifies and new mobility demands arise. Here are five additional pitfalls of BYOD environments, and how organizations can avoid them: Continue Reading…
Apple recently introduced a mobile device management enrollment solution for iOS that would make it easier for enterprise and education customers to roll out mass numbers of fully configured iPads or iPhones to employees without ever touching the device. For many in enterprise IT, this makes iOS a lot more appealing.
But that’s not to say the enterprise has ignored iPads and iPhones until now. In fact, Apple has made significant headway into the enterprise market over the last five years, with sales surging more than 1,000 percent at SHI. Not to mention that iOS activations made up 73 percent of total device activations in the fourth quarter of 2013 among enterprises.
Even before a solution existed for a smooth enterprise deployment, many pioneering organizations sought out iOS anyway, a testament to the strengths of Apple’s products. But still, having every user install the necessary apps and configure settings would have been a major drain on time and resources. Continue Reading…
There’s no denying or avoiding the proliferation of personal mobile devices in the workplace. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of all employers will require employees to supply their own devices. This forecast is based on a global survey of CIOs that found that 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.
For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), BYOD is a no-brainer, as it eliminates overhead and often reduces service and data costs. However, it also introduces a lot of unknowns into a company’s IT environment that few companies are equipped to manage.
Organizational supervision of personal mobile devices in an IT environment is lacking. Only 37 percent of SMBs are managing or plan to manage these devices using a mobile device management (MDM) solution. Without MDM, companies with a BYOD policy in place are at risk for security breaches, data leakage, and the financial losses associated with both.
If your business doesn’t yet have an MDM solution in place, it’s time to find one. Here are four best practices for managing the personal devices in your organization that will help you implement a formal MDM strategy: Continue Reading…
In this era of tech-savvy business people using their personal devices to work, employees are concerned that if they lose their device — or if it’s stolen — the company will wipe it clean to protect any sensitive company data. Now, it’s not a mobile device management (MDM) manager’s job to care if a few personal pictures get lost, but they should realize that end users do care, and as a result might attempt to circumvent the MDM to keep their personal contacts, photos, and other information safe.
MDM suppliers are looking to secure smart devices from the application layer because of this shift in mentality to keep personal and corporate information separate. It’s a double-edged sword, because employees want an unobtrusive tool that doesn’t contain a lot of oversight but also allows IT to stay up-to-date on their organization’s security requirements.
Can you be non-intrusive and secure?
The most requested feature of 2012 we heard from customers was the ability to wipe corporate data off of a device without deleting the contents of the entire device. That’s been the problem so far with most MDM solutions – they treat the device as a single container and make it work in a way that the organization dictates. With the shift to managing the applications, you give the user a chance to use the device as they intended, while allowing for extra management of content and security.
One problem that arises when you look further into application management is that app markets like the Google Play Store do very little in terms of vetting applications before they’re made available to the public. Though they’re making a more concerted effort now than a few months ago, the amount of oversight is still fairly low. From an MDM perspective, if you knew the name of an application you could add it to a blacklist, but malicious applications tend to multiply by the thousands every day. It would be nearly impossible to block them all. Continue Reading…
Virtually every week you read in the news about some large, well-known company suffering from the loss of sensitive corporate information at the hands of their employees. A Symantec study found that people who find a lost smartphone tried to access its private information — including trying to access a banking app — 89 percent of the time. And with so many users connecting their smartphones to their work email or company apps, the chances of sensitive corporate data falling into the wrong hands is more real than ever.
This is where being covered by a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution is key.
What is MDM?
MDM is a software solution that monitors, secures, manages, and supports all mobile devices on its network and can reduce IT support costs and business risk. It can reside in the cloud or a private data center. Hosting an MDM on-premise will incur higher capital costs, obviously, requiring an organization to purchase hardware up front and maintain regular software maintenance. However, some businesses find an on-premise solution is necessary for security or compliance reasons. Continue Reading…
Today marks the official launch of SHI Mobility Services. I say “official” because much of SHI Mobility Services is based on work we’ve been doing for our customers for several years, and now we’ve brought together the complete suite of hardware, software, and services needed to create an integrated and customized mobility solution that meets any need. This is a big move for both SHI and our customers.
The way people look at mobility has changed drastically and quickly. Four years ago, BlackBerry was growing by leaps and bounds, as it fit the need for a tightly controlled enterprise mobile strategy centered on email. Then we gradually started to see companies buying more and more Apple iOS devices, followed by an explosion of interest in Android devices. Email is still important, but mobile is now more about apps and access to information.
SHI Mobility Services reflects this change. SHI still offers BlackBerry, because we think that they remain an important player, but SHI Mobility Services goes across platform – Apple iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry – to provide a completely customized mobility offering for our customers. And it’s not just mobile devices, but also the hardware, software, and services needed to plan, implement, and manage mobile in any size organization. Continue Reading…
Smartphones are becoming more powerful every day, and tablets have evolved to the point where people are using them as their on-the-go computing device, allowing them to leave the laptop at home. But while smartphones and tablets are sharing the spotlight with laptops for many business users, their underlying design makes them very different from a traditional PC. That difference could be putting your organization at risk. Luckily, there’s a way to get a handle on it.
The risk that I’m speaking of is data leakage. The very things that make smartphones easy to use (social sharing, constant connectivity, location services, etc.) are also putting your company’s data at risk. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that between $90 and $305 dollars can be lost per customer record. With devices carrying thousands, if not millions, of records, the total cost of a compromised device is high.
A study by B2B International recently highlighted the slow adoption of mobile device management (MDM) software. It revealed that only 11 percent of the companies surveyed had an MDM solution in place to ensure those employees with mobile phones and tablets are complying with corporate security policies. This tells us that even though the entire industry is talking about bring your own device (BYOD) programs, very few companies are correctly implementing them.
According to Gartner, this problem will only grow in the coming years, as the BYOD trend shows no signs of slowing down. Shortly after the B2B International study, Gartner predicted that over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt an MDM solution. However, the B2B study suggests that companies aren’t embracing the challenge of securing corporate data on mobile devices.
Our experience in working with SHI customers integrating mobile devices into their enterprises show the accuracy of both of these studies — MDM adoption is slow despite heavy BYOD use.
The IT departments I talk to recognize this problem and want to manage their devices, but they’re having problems determining which solution is best for them. They don’t want to spend money on one solution, only to find out six months later it wasn’t the right fit.
The problem lies within the industry. There’s so much noise that people are becoming confused. There are hardware solutions for BYOD, and there are software solutions. Some solutions are touted by big-box security companies, while others are from no-name, angel-funded startups. Without the proper education, companies don’t know which solution to choose, and the problem falls to the wayside.
So today, I’d like to share the top-five pieces of advice I give my customers to help them pick the correct MDM solution for their organization: Continue Reading…
It wasn’t long ago when mobile device management was a pretty simple matter. You outfitted your teams with BlackBerrys, you went with a BES solution, and the world was a wonderful place. Then along came Steve Jobs with the iPhone and changed the game for everybody.
Once the iPhone was released, Android and Windows Phone soon followed, and users started streaming into their organizations with all manner of smartphones (much to the chagrin of IT admins everywhere). And let’s not mention tablets. As any IT leader will tell you, all but the BlackBerry were unmanageable in the early days of the emergence of the mobile enterprise.
That’s the bad news. The good news: Over the past few years the landscape has changed, and dramatically so. The mobile device management (MDM) space has become very competitive, with more than 100 different mobile device management vendors in the game to date. While this certainly provides a great deal of choice for the buyer, it dramatically increases the complexity for IT leaders who have to sift through myriad offerings to find the solution that fits their organization. Continue Reading…