Small firms in particular struggle to keep employees productive and secure on the road.

Channel Partners

April 4, 2017

5 Min Read
Complex technology

Asavie's Nick RajBy Nick Raj

Your customers understand the productivity benefits of mobilizing their workforces, but let’s face it: Putting the right apps in the hands of the right employees, securely and with the right data access, is difficult — especially for SMBs.

Not doing so, however, is shaping up to be even more problematic. A recent study by cloud mobility provider Synchronoss shows that a business that uses mobile devices only for calendar and email is likely to be 29 percent less profitable than a rival that adopts more advanced solutions. Moreover, IT leaders who deliver on advanced enterprise mobility are perceived more favorably, by double-digit percentages.

To optimize productivity benefits, partners must help customers take control of their mobile strategies and strike a balance between empowering employees with devices/apps without compromising security or paying excessive data charges.

The need for greater control may be why BYOD (bring your own device) strategies are falling from favor. Mobilizing a business with personal devices chosen by employees poses security risks, creates issues around ownership of data stored on the phone and ramps up costs, with companies paying for non-work-related data usage. A COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled) strategy or similar solves some of these problems, but issues around how employees use their phones still leave the business exposed to high costs, lost productivity and security threats associated with mobile internet access.

Confused about BYOD vs. CORE vs. COPE? This free report will help.

To restore control, help customers set out clear goals of what they want to achieve. For example, most all companies want remote workers to:

  • Get more productive and efficient

  • Improve customer engagement

  • Close sales more quickly

  • Enjoy a better work life balance

No matter the industry, every sales person needs to be able to access customer information at the touch of a button and close a deal wherever they are, providing quotes with the latest technology at their fingertips. Customers expect it, which means mobility is now about competitive advantage.

Match Solution to Strategy

Once a customer articulates what they want in their mobile strategies, they’ll look to you for the how, so be ready with advice and solutions. Even companies with mature IT organizations are struggling to bring governance and structure to their mobile strategies. They need to centralize control over their mobile devices just as they do with their traditional IT estate.

The good news is, there are a range of solutions channel partners can bring to bear to help roll out a mobile strategy. Unfortunately, many can be complex and clunky to manage and require the commitment of considerable internal resources. And, no single product does it all — meaning you have a services play in tailoring a set of products for that specific customer.

Here are the building blocks:

Mobile device management solutions help secure emails, enforce corporate policies, protect company data and facilitate remote “lock and wipe” when a device is lost or stolen.

While MDM is essential for any sizable rollout of mobile services, it doesn’t provide granular control over data-usage events. The solutions tend toward blunt options, like: “Roaming: Yes/No” and “Data: On/Off.” A lot of enterprises invest in MDM only to discover that it doesn’t adequately protect against inappropriate data usage, leaving them exposed to “bill shock” from an employee deciding to binge watch Netflix while stuck at an airport.

Mobile threat protection solutions defend against threats at the physical device, network and application layers. These tools are still maturing and evolving, but so is the need for them. Cyber criminals recognize mobile vulnerabilities as a weak link in enterprise security.

Mobile devices are tiny computers that demand the same level of attention as other elements of the IT estate; the problem is that mobile strategies often evolve in an ad hoc way, driven by business units rather than IT, and security policies and procedures are frequently neglected. 

Data control fills a gap left by MDM and other mobile-security solutions by controlling what data gets to the device. Applying data controls offers the certainty that all billed data is visible, but the key to successful data control is to provide more granular detail and enable automated actions based on events. Essentially, it’s about controlling access to websites and services, the option of blocking categories of sites that are considered high risk and likely to contain malware. The same controls could also be used to limit access to data-hungry services, like streaming video, reducing the risk of costly overages. When businesses can set their own per-employee (or per-device) rules on the volume and type of data that be accessed, they can better balance productivity requirements with cost and security concerns.

It’s clear the explosion in mobile-data services is empowering customers to facilitate new ways of working. When building a mobile-security solution, make sure you tick six vital boxes: no capital costs, easy setup, simple and centralized administration, highly automated, granular to avoid frivolous overages but still enable employees, and strong security policy enforcement.

Learn more by visiting me in the Mobility City Experience Area next week at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo and attending my panel on the BIG Stage.

Nick Raj, sales training specialist at Asavie, has spent most of the last decade working with sales teams and customers globally to help them better understand their solutions. Prior to joining Asavie to lead their training organization, he worked in a similar capacity for Dell, supporting sales teams in North America, EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and Australia and New Zealand. Raj holds a management degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

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