CompTIA: IT Departments Struggle With Mobile Workforce, MDM

According to CompTIA’s Trends in Enterprise Mobility study, IT departments are still trying to master the IT mobility trend. To get mobility under control, CompTIA suggests that IT departments must create new policies and procedures to keep the mobile enterprise accessible, available and secure. Of course, managed services providers (MSPs) can play a prime role in that conversation.

Predictably, laptops, ultrabrooks, smartphones and tablets are becoming more popular among organizations and have become essential to day-to-day business. CompTIA’s report indicates that 84 percent of those surveyed use their smartphone for light work such as email or web browsing.

Tablets, on the other hand, are the top choice for purchase intent in the next year. Note-taking and giving presentations, as well as other uses make tablets of interest to individuals. Also, users have embraced tablets as a communications device.

Said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA, in a prepared statement.

"Currently, the primary motivation for a business to adopt a mobility strategy is to enable a mobile workforce and ensure smooth operations. However, the ability to connect to customers in a mobile environment is increasingly important. So any mobility strategy must address the needs of two different groups with distinct needs and requirements."
IT departments are building new policies to accommodate the behavior in a mobile society. However, only 22 percent of companies in the CompTIA survey currently have a formal mobility policy. Fortunately, another 20 percent were building policies at the time of CompTIA’s survey -- but that means more than half of IT departments don't have trends like mobile device management (MDM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) under control.

Seventy percent of those surveyed believe that security considerations are the greatest risk involved with supporting mobility. With regards to security:
  • 48 percent of those surveyed cited downloading unauthorized applications as a serious concern.
  • 41 percent worried about mobile-specific viruses and malware
  • 40 percent cited open Wi-Fi networks as a concern.
Solutions to these problems are different within every IT department, but requiring passcodes, installing tracking software and encrypting data are common steps to the ultimate solution by IT departments. Robinson urged companies to seriously put together plans to deal with mobility issues.

Meanwhile, MSP-focused software companies are working to address mobile device management issues as well. Kaseya introduced an MDM module in 2011; Level Platforms is launching MDM capabilities now and LabTech Software says it will launch MDM software in April 2012 as part of the LabTech 2012 release. MSPmentor expects most of the major RMM -- remote monitoring and management -- software companies to offer MDM in 2012.

The big question, however, involves how MSPs will potentially monetize mobile device management services.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.
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