Most tech pros recognize MDM as “Master Data Management” as a tool that helps enterprises perform more efficiently and effectively by creating a single coherent vision of customers, products and suppliers. The newest type of MDM – Mobile Device Management – is another direct response to the overall increase in mobile and social technology. Any company interested in benefiting from the immeasurable and available amounts of data must dutifully consider implementing a “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD, as the cool kids call it, employee policy.
MDM and ensuing BYOD policy promotion are the results of a global increase in accessible technology and information. When an earthquake hit Virginia in August 2011, residents in New York City read about the quake on Twitter feeds 30 seconds before they experienced the quake themselves. Not surprisingly, 46% of American adults were owners of Smartphones in March 2012, which is an 11% increase from the previous year. These statistics will continue to increase, as will the amount of public data accessible via mobile. Companies must adapt internal policies to capitalize on the opportunity to collect, manage and act on applicable data insights. One of the opportunities is to implement a policy where employees have regular and remote access to company data.
To properly weigh the effectiveness of any policy, we must clearly analyze the opportunities and challenges. We are clearly in the midst of a global recession and private enterprises must cut costs. Many organizations have allowed employee access to email and internal sites that were previously only attainable within the physical office. This modernized business strategy not only promotes working remotely, but reduces daily administrative expenses and the need for organization technology purchases. Additionally, remote-work access increases employee flexibility and promotes productivity outside the office.
It should be noted that while allowing employees to using their own devices reduces the need for upgrades and training, the policy also assumes that employees already own an appropriate device. The most serious concern of the BYOD policy is managing security throughout a myriad of devices and operating systems. To properly design and implement a BYOD policy, organizations must rigorously evaluate security concerns and current information management systems, while implementing pilot programs will provide real-time and tangible results within specific organizations. Mobile device security management is different than PC security because there are several different operating systems and product offerings. To make it all work, a company must invest heavily in information technology and additional security developing.
InformationWeek has published a very interesting report on MDM and the vendor options here and I would absolutely encourage you to read through it. Additionally, the White House’s Digital Government report analyzes the challenges and benefits of BYOD implementation within government agencies, many of which are also applicable to private enterprise. MDM is definitely a step up from the initial development of a strategic data management strategy, so officially BYOD policies might be on the backburner for a little longer. To learn more about first steps in data management, including security and analytics, check out Big Data World Canada at the Toronto Hyatt Regency on March 5 and 6.