One of the network solutions that Moss specializes in is mobile device optimization. This includes device onboarding, mobile business applications, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), IoT (Internet of Things), and MDM (Mobile Device Management). In this blog we will talk about device onboarding, the challenges that it presents to companies, and how we at Moss manage it for our clients.
What Is Device Onboarding?
These days Americans take their devices, most often mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, everywhere they go, including work. When they get there, they want to use them. Device onboarding is the process of connecting any of these devices to a local network and from there to the internet and then to any enabling services on that network. If you’ve ever taken your phone out at a restaurant or a store and attempted to connect it to the company’s wifi, you’ve experienced the device onboarding process.
If you’re just browsing the internet at a restaurant, however, you don’t need to access any of the restaurant’s files. At work it’s different, and so there are different levels of security. For the company that offers their employees the ability to connect to its network, device onboarding presents a number of challenges.
The first challenge is that the device connected to the network belongs to its owner; while it’s on that network, however it must be managed by the company or organization. Often these devices are brought back and forth to work and home. They are used outside of the company, but the company’s data is still present on the device. Sharing network data with users obviously introduces questions about the privacy, security, and ownership of that data.
To protect itself and its data, the company or organization must write and implement a clear acceptable use policy that clarifies ownership of the device, ownership of data, use of data, and the legal ramifications of breaching this agreement. Once a user reads and agrees to abide by that policy, another challenge is onboarding their specific device.
There are so many different devices available to consumers and different versions, or generations, of those devices as well. They have different operating systems. Accommodating this huge variety of devices could be a colossal headache. Fortunately, there is a technology called a mobile device manager, or MDM. A mobile device manager makes device onboarding possible. It connects each device to a central management console and controls and manages that connection.
Mobile Device Managers
The organization’s user agreement policy spells out corporate policy with regard to accessing information, but the MDM makes that access technologically possible. No IT department can guarantee that it will be able to accommodate all devices, but it can make a list of the devices the mobile device manager does support.
What Moss does for our clients is to install a mobile device manager for their networks. This is not a simple process as the MDM does have to communicate with each device from that list of supported devices securely. It has to be able to communicate with them wherever they are in the world, not just in the company building, and through the company’s firewall. Our trained technicians make this magic work, and they also provide maintenance of the MDM whenever it’s needed.
The mobile device manager once correctly installed can control the company’s information on the individual devices it manages, allowing users to access their own personal data and keep it private while cordoning off parts of the device for the organization’s data and use. If the user chooses to leave the company’s employ, this cordoned off data can be removed from the device without harming their personal data in any way.
The mobile device manager can also control certain functions of the devices it manages like a camera. It can allow or not allow the installation of certain types of data or apps. It can also remotely delete any information it no longer wants users to have access to.
The process of device onboarding should be quick and easy for users, even ones who struggle with technology. The information we discussed above should tell you something of how much work and training goes into making this process seamless. If your company or organization would like to add mobile device optimization to what you can do, please call us at Moss. We would love to discuss with you the solutions we can offer.