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As BYOD explodes, IT managers learn to cope

Beth Stackpole | April 24, 2013
Five tech departments share strategies for coping with BYOD.

Currently, the agency has mobile apps designed to let service reps book conference rooms or serve up work orders to contractors while on the convention center floor, and more are in development. "We have a lot of things in the works to better our service delivery processes," Snyder says. "We're looking at how to make it easier to triage things [so that] 90% of the time you don't need to make a phone call."

Clif Bar:

Three-Pronged Approach to MDM

" Company: Clif Bar, Emeryville, Calif. Maker of organic food and beverages.

" By the numbers: 335 employees; 250 company-supported mobile users.

" Devices supported: 250 company-owned Apple iOS devices, including 200 smartphones and 50 tablets, which are fully supported by the four-person help desk. Other users can bring in their own phones or other mobile devices, but they aren't allowed to access company information or email.

" How BYOD happened: The wake-up call came in early 2011, when talk of BYOD was just getting started, according to Gary Hensley, Clif Bar's IT director. While some IT leaders were excited about the possibility of opening up device choice, Hensley says he was nervous about the resulting support demands that would fall to his already strapped 13-person IT team.

Resolving to deal with BYOD before it got out of hand, Hensley worked with Clif Bar's CFO and the rest of the IT team to map out a three-pronged approach to mobile device management that includes formulating usage and security policies, creating a business case for the use of mobile devices and an MDM system, and creating processes to oversee and manage the devices.

" How it's coping: The team settled on Apple devices because "they were the best in practice for manageability," Hensley says, but the choice also reflected what users wanted.

Users who meet the justification criteria and get management approval to use a mobile device are given a company-issued iPhone or iPad and get access to email, contacts and calendars in Outlook Exchange. Employees approved for mobile usage who opt to purchase their own Apple device can also port their personal number to the company plan and will be able to maintain their original refresh cycles on the hardware, Hensley says.

Currently, the company is using Microsoft ActiveSync for MDM, which Hensley says provides visibility into who is accessing company information and gives administrators the ability to block access if necessary. Using the Bomgar remote help desk platform, Clif Bar has automated remote provisioning and activation of devices. Bomgar can also walk users through the process of connecting the device to the corporate network.

[We're] listening to users to determine what their needs and wants are. It's a constantly evolving challenge.

 

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