Mobile Asset Management Lags

By Barbara Rembiesa, Founder, CEO and President of the International Association of IT Asset Managers, Inc. (IAITAM) — May 24, 2013

In the fall of 2012, the International Association of IT Asset Managers, Inc. (IAITAM) conducted a survey that was focused on mobile asset management, its adoption within the organization and the organization’s management capabilities of those asset types.  The survey revealed that organizations are at vastly different maturity levels concerning mobile asset management.

With enterprises providing and supporting both corporately-owned and personal mobile devices, the primary focus is to ensure that the devices and the data remain secure.  The principle strategies to accomplish that are the introduction and enforcement of policies and procedures to control device usage and user actions. 

There are additional supporting practices and preventative measures that can be deployed such as location tracking of devices for retrieval and remote wiping of mobile device drives to protect their business intelligence data.  According to the survey results:

  • 96% of organizations supply employees with mobile devices; and 94% treat mobile devices as a “must have” for productivity.
  • In the breakdown of organizationally supplied devices, 75% of employees are supplied with PC-based laptops (including NetBooks) and 70% with BlackBerry phones compared to other device type.
  • Some of those same organizations also offer their employees iPads (16%), iPhones (15%) and Macbooks (9%)
  • Alarmingly, only one-quarter of organizations have location tracking systems in use for mobile devices and just of half have remote drive wiping capabilities.
While enterprises view mobile devices as critical to the business, driving revenue and maintaining a competitive edge, the adoption of location tracking, remote wiping and other data security tools has not kept pace with the adoption of the devices themselves. 

The diversity in competing technologies and the rapid rate of change creates a difficult management scenario for IT asset managers.  Implications include problems like changing interfaces making mobile security solutions obsolete quickly. The result of this “perfect storm” is that mobile asset management maturity levels appear to be lagging behind the adoption rate of this changing technology. 

So, what actions be taken?  The only way to avoid having the mobile situation become an asset management failure is to actively pursue broad-based organizational and executive support. It is this support that allows robust policies and procedures to be developed and enforced, the infrastructure that protects one of the most valuable assets an organization owns — its data.

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