Taking AIM at MDM

By  William Atkinson — September 09, 2011

Active Interest Media (AIM) is a growing media company focused on lifestyle magazines, such as Black Belt, Yoga Journal, Backpacker, and Vegetarian Times. The company also produces and markets consumer events, Internet sites, and books.

A few years ago, AIM realized that it needed to secure and manage the smartphones and other devices that employees wanted to use at work, such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as Android devices.

AIM selected Good for Enterprise, a mobility suite composed of Good Mobile Control, Good Mobile Messaging, and Good Mobile Access. This allows AIM to support an individual-liable model, giving employees their choice of device, while at the same time reducing costs and ensuring security and management.

As a result, employees are happier and more productive because they can use the device that they want at home and at work. In addition, IT can ensure that AIM’s mobile environment is secure and thus focus more time on strategic projects.

AIM’s Need

Nelson Saenz, director of IT, has been with AIM since 2005, just as it was starting to grow. “At the time, BlackBerry was the only game in town,” he explains. However, as newer smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and devices built on the Android operating system came into existence, employees began asking AIM’s IT department to support these devices at work.

“The world changed when iPhone was introduced,” explains Saenz. “About a year after it was introduced, they made it possible to connect it to an Exchange environment. At first, our graphic designers and edit staff were bringing in their iPhones and wanting to set them up for e-mail, calendars, and things of that sort. We started hooking them up.”

At first, AIM set up several iPhones with ActiveSync. After a controlled test of the devices, though, IT concluded that the solution didn’t provide the necessary level of security and management.

“Things got to the point where we began to see more and more people using their iPhones,” continues Saenz. “We had to take a step back and realize that this was working great for the users because they were getting what they were asking for in terms of connectivity to the network. However, we didn’t have any visibility to the devices once they were ‘out in the wild.’”

AIM needed to manage these devices centrally and ensure enterprise-wide security. “These devices are portable and small, which opens up the possibility of their being lost or stolen,” he points out.

Saenz became familiar with Good for Enterprise after doing some research on the Internet. The IT department contacted Good, set up a 30-day free trial, and converted the iPhones that were on ActiveSync to the new Good server. AIM began with a pilot group of 20 users, most of whom had iPhones.

“We selected Good because it had the broadest range of support,” Saenz says. “They were doing iPhones, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.”

Currently, AIM utilizes all three features of Good for Enterprise. “We use Good Mobile Control to administer the devices,” he explains. “It provides us with a complete view of the devices that are out there.” AIM uses Good Mobile Messaging to relay messages to users. “We have played with Good Mobile Access,” he states. “Currently, we are testing it on the iPad.”

The solution has been in place for about 18 months. “Recently, we have been expanding the technology to cover employees’ iPads and tablet devices in general,” continues Saenz. “Currently we have about 100 devices on the Good server, but still have about 15 using BlackBerry.”

Results and Benefits

Employees are happier and more productive. For one thing, they only have to carry one device to meet their work and personal needs. After introducing Good for Enterprise, for example, a production director was called to jury duty at the same time that a magazine issue had to go to press. Using Good for Enterprise, she was able to access her e-mail, review and respond to attachments, and schedule meetings during her breaks.

There are benefits for IT, too. “In terms of management, one benefit is the ability to manage a fast-growing fleet of devices,” says Saenz. AIM easily manages its fleet of devices with Good Mobile Control, which allows the company to set and enforce security policies that can be tailored for every user, including passwords, access to applications, data encryption, device features, compliance management, and remote device lockdown or wipe.

Smartphones represent a potential threat to company information. Good provides end-to-end mobile security with FIPS-certified 192-bit AES encryption for data in transit as well as data stored on users’ devices. Good’s server is also deployed behind the enterprise firewall so that security is not compromised by having to open new ports. “If someone loses a device or it is stolen, we can wipe it remotely, eliminating the potential for sensitive company information to fall into the wrong hands,” adds Saenz.

The technology has also improved efficiency. “In IT, we have a handful of iPads that have replaced laptops,” he continues. “We use the iPads as loaner devices.” If someone doesn’t have a laptop or iPad and travels for the company, such as to a trade show or sales meeting, IT can provide them with an iPad that is preloaded with Good, so they can keep tabs on their e-mail and calendar. “This eliminates the need for us to have to constantly update laptops,” he explains.

Looking to the Future

The IT department monitors advancements at Good that may ultimately benefit AIM. “For example, Good wants to expand the Mobile Access piece beyond just supporting iOS, as it does now,” says Saenz. “As we hear about more of their updates, it allows us to think up ways in advance that we can offer our users.”


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