Mobile Device Mangement
Last month I introduced the major Elements of an MDM Strategy. This month I’d like to provide a little bit of depth in in one of the key elements that I believe will be key to your strategy being successful. I like to start by addressing applications because it can serve as a filter to minimize the number of variables required for consideration when dealing with the other elements of an MDM Strategy. Of course the answers to these questions will lead to more questions. For those of you on a diet who just need a snack, here is a short list of questions in a tapas format:
- Do you have specific applications that you need to run?
- Are they COTS or Custom Applications?
- What platform are they available for?
- What is the level of expertise that your development team or partner has with various mobile platforms?
- Does the application have any specific security requirements?
- Does the Application have any specific hardware or software requirements?
Here’s the table d’hôte:
Do you have specific applications that you need to run?
While this question seems academic, many organizations simply use mobile devices for voice, email, SMS, browsing and other out-of-the-box functionality. For these organizations, applications LOB or otherwise are not part of their use case scenario. If you answer no to this question, you don’t need to read any further than the next sentence. Your options for devices will be very broad and you will need to find other ways to rationalize the devices you will support. If you answer yes then please read on.
Are they COTS or Custom Applications?
Are the applications that you require commercially available or are they custom built?
If the applications are COTS, what platforms does the vendor support and what licensing model do they have for each platform? If they support multiple platforms, do they support mixed environments? What about application deployment? Do they support enterprise deployment and managing through sideloading (or some other mechanism) or is the only option purchase from the platform store (iTunes , Google Play, MS Store, etc.). Is the application available in all geographies and languages that you require?
If the application is an in-house or outsourced custom application, the same questions that are required for COTS applications need to be addressed however, some additional questions need to be answered as well. For example: What is the level of expertise that your development team or partner has with various mobile platforms?
Does the application have any specific security requirements?
Does the application have specific requirements based on the data that it will manage and process? For example: Will credit cards be processed and are there PCI compliance requirements? Is there personally identifiable information or health information? Does your organization already have policies for dealing with this data and does the mobile app need to comply with them? Think about items like encryption for data at rest and data in motion, VPN, passwords, etc.
Does the Application have any other specific requirements?
Understanding any hardware or software requirements for the applications will also help to filter the list of potential devices. Consider some of the following as a starting point: Does the application require a specific browser or browser support? Does the application require a camera? Are there any networking requirements (Wi-Fi, 4G, etc.). What about disk space and memory? Is support for adobe flash or java required?
The objective of answering these questions is to start narrowing down the list of potential devices that can meet your requirements and identifying any non-technical challenges (policies etc.) that must be addressed.
In my next post I plan to discuss Users but you never now. Stay tuned.
A great reference for BYOD with a Microsoft slant can be found on TechNet. I got a lot of my ideas from this guide.