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Author's profile photo Milja Gillespie

Governance for the Mobile Revolution

For a mobile revolution to occur, IT first has to allow enterprise data to exist on the device in a secure manner. We’ve talked about the invasion of smart devices in the enterprise.  Now, as more users bring personally owned smartphones and tablets to work, IT is suddenly faced with the need to come up with a governance plan for mobile.

With this rapid adoption of smart devices, it is becoming very important for companies to define their mobile policies. Those who don’t embrace and support smart devices may run into many issues that can hinder workplace productivity. Those who do should implement a mobility governance strategy to increase success.

IT departments are certainly used to creating and enforcing rules and regulations. They are experts at enforcing policies that cover everything from how often users need to change their passwords to what software needs to be installed on each computer. In any computing environment, these policies are absolutely critical to protect the physical network and ensure that intellectual property remains secure.

But IT departments often overlook — even deny — information access to mobile devices. Instead of denying access, you should instead be proactive about managing smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices throughout their lifecycle, from activation out of the box all the way through to when they are taken out of production.

If you think of mobile governance as a strategic initiative within your organization, it will be more likely be accepted and followed. A critical first step is to document and publicize policies to all groups of mobile workers. Depending on their role within the organization, each of these groups will likely have different requirements when it comes to mobile communications – keep in mind up front that one size does not fit all.

Companies need to clearly document and publicize policies for each unique user group. These policies should be given directly to employees, who should then have a chance to review them.

Alongside user education, it’s critical to have the technology to back up the policy governing mobile devices on the network. Consider deploying an enterprise mobility management solution that extends existing corporate IT policies out to handheld devices. This platform, such as SAP Afaria, should support a variety of devices (most importantly today iPhone, iPad and Android) and allow you to see what’s on the network and ensure mobile devices are in compliance with policy.

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