4 things you need to know before using Apple DEP

apple tablet phoneBig business likes Apple — most smartphones and tablets used in the corporate world bear the Apple logo (72 percent and 90 percent respectively). But deploying hundreds or thousands of those mobile devices can be a logistical headache for any IT department.

Throughout the last few months, I’ve helped numerous organizations solve this problem by tapping Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP), a specific method of gatekeeping Apple’s mobile and tablet devices. Each DEP rollout reinforces four thoughts in my mind, lessons I’ve learned along the way that can benefit every company considering a DEP deployment. Take a look. Continue Reading…

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What the Apple Watch and wearable tech mean for IT staff (Hint: BYOW)

smartwatchOne million devices. That’s the estimate for how many Apple Watches were pre-ordered on the first day of pre-sale. This may sound like a large number, but it’s likely only a fraction of the total number of Apple Watches that will sell this quarter.

There’s no question that wearable technology adoption appears strong. IDC estimates more than 45 million wearable devices will be sold in 2015, while Business Insider estimates that 148 million units will be shipped annually by 2019. Last October, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that 20 percent of Americans owned a wearable device, and that portion was increasing at a rate comparable to tablet adoption just a few years earlier.

The Apple Watch and other new wearables are sure to increase adoption. But one consequence following on the coattails of this trend could spell trouble for your organization: the consumerization of wearable technology. But by addressing the major security concerns head on, companies will be free to embrace the many benefits of wearables.  Continue Reading…

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Is your retail store ready for new tech?

retail technologyThe 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…

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5 consequences of poor BYOD management

Tablet-Eating-100-Dollar-BillBring 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…

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Why enterprise iOS adoption surged before Apple’s mobile device management tools

iPad at workApple 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…

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4 steps to mobile device management for small businesses

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…

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Mobile device management at the application layer

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…

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Mobile Device Management: Curing the headache of lost company data

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…

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Announcing complete mobility solutions, from SHI Mobility Services

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…

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Plugging the leak: Data loss and smartphones

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.

SHI-The-rising-cost-of-data-loss-CHART Continue Reading…

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