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By 20 February 2015 | Categories: Software

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- Users continue to be suspicious of MDM solutions they feel are playing Big Brother to their personal mobile devices

When tracking data on employee’s mobile devices, the deployment of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that can be rejected, deleted or ill configured by staff and users is simply no longer enough, so business needs to change its approach to managing mobile devices.

While IT is grappling with plugging the data holes caused by the growing number of mobile devices creeping onto corporate networks, users continue to resist the “control” they feel IT is trying to take with the deployment of MDM software on their devices. Which is why business, IT and users, need to look at where they can meet in the middle, without business being perceived and acting like Big Brother.

“MDM is critical for business. No matter how much users want to resist IT controlling their mobile behaviour the reality is that we simply cannot let them do as they please in an environment where there is corporate data in their possession,” states Jonathan Kropf, CEO at Cloud On Demand. “But we have to meet in the middle and both sides need to concede some control to the other.”

But how? According to Kropf, MDM solutions that stand on their own are not enough. Because of MDM’s ability to assist IT to provision devices, configure settings such as network/VPN, enforce security policies, encrypt data, and apply password requirements, it does a good job of managing devices but not enough to help you protect your corporate data on these mobile devices and endpoints.

This shortfall coupled with the user’s resistance to allow them to be deployed on their devices, remains one of the biggest reasons companies aren’t lining up to deploy BYOD strategies just yet. Which is why Kropf says that business need to look at deploying solutions that provide the user with a sharing and collaboration module, as well as enables them to separate their personal life from their business life, on a single device,

“As business it is our job to protect our data. Something that with the right tools can be done in a controlled manner and that doesn’t prejudice the personal rights of the user. Remember, the main reason users resist corporate management, or perceived corporate management or their devices, is because they believe that their personal rights are being compromised.

“It is therefore our job as business to leverage technologies that allow you to conduct MDM on the one end, protect corporate data in accordance with IT policies on the other, while providing users a compelling personal reason to make use of them,” he says.

It’s a fine balancing act according to Kropf but not one that is impossible. The first step is to ensure open communication between user and business. Business needs to ensure that users know what business hopes to achieve by placing management tools on their devices, as well as the benefits they will derive from this, and ultimately the value they can personally unlock for themselves.

Data leakage and backup is as important to an individual than it is to the business, so when a user can leverage corporate solution via collaboration and sharing to benefit themselves, naturally they are going to be more inclined to make use of a tool of this nature. This approach immediately strips away the feeling that IT is once again forcing down policies or an MDM solution that is going to cramp their style.

“We have seen the benefits of this approach through the deployment of our partner Druva’s technology at customer sites. Their MDM solution coupled with a controlled file sharing and collaboration tool is seeing a growing acceptance by users to make use of a corporate tool that ultimately protects the data of the business as well as data of the end user, all on a single endpoint,” ends Kropf.

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