March 2015: Mobile Device Management & BYOD

One of the most talked about areas of BYOD is the debate of MDM, Mobile Device Management. Below is our featured expert discussing his experience in MDM, challenges faced and solutions for this evolving workplace issue.


With 29 years in IT and a bachelor’s degree in Technology Management I have had the opportunity to work hands on in most areas of IT as well as managed large teams responsible for operations.  Working in a public relations company and in the oil and gas industry the challenges are much the same.  The demand hits IT hard in obtaining and retaining good talent as each new generation wants the latest and greatest software and hardware technologies.  This is a challenge for organizations in many ways and one of the latest is the area of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

 Challenges of BYOD

One of the most talked about areas of BYOD is the debate of MDM, Mobile Device Management.  Questions being asked are typically:

  • Who will pay for the mobile device? Company or employee?
  • Should the employee carry a personal mobile device in addition to the company device? If so, then how is this managed?

With Apple and Linux growing in popularity and many software companies providing the ability to run on multiple OS’s, many people want to work on the OS they used in college or are most comfortable using.  When they look for a new career opportunity they look for a progressive organization they feel will allow them to succeed and in part use the tools they want to use.  This presents a huge challenge for the IT industry.  How does IT secure the device from viruses, security risks from OS exploitations, corporate espionage and many other risks?  How will it be managed if someone leaves an organization or is being dismissed and they have company data and corporate intellectual property on their personal computer?  How does the company delete it or get it back?  What if the device is stolen and the drive is not encrypted?  Can you force someone to encrypt their personal drive?

All of these questions are demands being put on IT professionals.  The easiest answer is to prohibit BYOD and require employees use company issued devices. However, that answer is no longer acceptable and the demand for BYOD devices in the work place will only continue to drive the IT industry.


So what is the answer?  I’ve had the opportunity to work for two organizations that made attempts at solving the problem, one of which was on the right path:  a virtual desktop maintained on virtual servers.  Employees would always login via a secure tunnel; pull up a virtual desktop that resembled a MS desktop.  In this manner, it was locked down that data could be saved on the virtual desktop which was actually a drive on a file server or stored on the server home drive, a common share drive or SharePoint site.  The data never leaves the company.  This solution also permitted, in the event malware or a virus somehow got introduced into the system, it could simply be eliminated by the virtual desktops being shut down and recreated bringing the user right back to where they left off with no virus as the desktop was always recreated from the same virtual image and a profile of the end users customization.  While this technology had its hiccups as well, it was a positive step in the right direction.

As an IT professional it is important with the demand of BYOD to continue to listen to the business, strive to meet the demands, think outside the box and strive to deliver efficient productive outcomes in a manner that will keep employees happy.  While we can’t make everyone happy all of the time, BYOD will continue to demand the IT industry provide more versatility while not compromising security.

About the expert:

Kirk S. has over 29 years of IT experience in both public relations and oil & gas industries providing operational excellence with experience in incident management, service management, asset management and problem management globally across 6 continents.


Security Corner:

A recent survey found that enterprises that allow BYOD expect the primary benefits to be improved employee productivity and satisfaction and better overall security. Read full article



Upcoming Events:

WITI Houston

Women in Technology International (WITI) Houston and SWE (Society of Women Engineers) hosting a joint dinner event covering how to manage your career and the hidden cost of retaining a stable workplace Wednesday, March 11th. More information/event website 


Houston Dot Net Users Group monthly meeting to be held March 12th. Topic is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Azure Mobile Services”. More information/event website


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