Mobile Device Management: Challenges Lie Ahead for MSPs

The managed services space is just getting started with the challenges in mobile device management, an area that is still in its infancy. That's according to a couple of well respected leaders in the space who spoke with MSPmentor recently about some of the challenges MSPs are facing and the work we all have ahead to meet those challenges.

LabTech Software CEO Matt Nachtrab recently told MSPmentor that managed services providers (MSPs) are struggling with MDM because it's such a young market. MSPs lack clear mobile device management (MDM) strategies because of this.

Privacy is the main concern for RMM vendors, MSPs and users. The concept of a 24/7 work schedule, the implementation of various MDM policies for multiple clients, and the ability to explain the bring your own device (BYOD) trend are all big concerns for MSPs.

Privacy concerns are a major challenge
The bring your own device (BYOD) trend forces MSPs to balance the serious threat posed by malware and the privacy concerns of employees. LabTech's discussions with MSPs have revealed that that most managed phones are employee-owned. "There are a lot of privacy issues that arise because of the work-life blend on the phones," says Nachtrab. "We have been doing lots of work trying to help come up with ways to help our partners message the importance of securing these devices." These devices, of course, must be secured without becoming "big brother."

Managed service provider Fifosys Limited Managing Director Mitesh Patel agreed that privacy is a big issue when it comes to BYOD.

"The privacy of employees is the primary concern with BYOD and also how to approach the communications to staff," says Patel. To assist with this concern, Fifosys Limited has combined its BYOD offering with publishing a desktop to the users. "The one point I always make is that the minute you allow a member of staff to log on to Hotmail from a work PC and browse to attach a company document," says Patel, "you should not be concerned about all the other solution like BYOD that are available."

The major trend of the 24/7 work schedule
With the huge growth ahead for mobile enterprise management, MSPs will have to base strategy around clients who have employees working a 24/7 work schedule from the mobility of technology. "I think it is clear that there is a major trend in this world," says Nachtrab, "where work/life is blending and people are working 24/7 because of the mobility of technology." To overcome this challenge, says Nachtrab, MSPs should educate their client base on the issues.

Patel agrees that communicating and educating is the way to overcome these challenges, "We raise the concerns related to not having MDM." Patel explains to his clients that they are at risk of losing confidential data, and there would be nothing they could do to recover that data.

Dealing with various MDM policies and communication with clients
Patel emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of each client. "They will have different aspects that are important to them," Patel says. Communicating to clients the risks and advantages can be rather difficult. "The last thing staff should want to be responsible for is the exposure of confidential company data due to their own mistake."

Developing a message for clients is key. "We have been doing lots of work trying to help come up with ways to help our partners message the importance of securing these devices," Nachtrab says. His company normally offers marketing, employee policy, and sales strategies.




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