Hardware has never been an issue; however it is enormously hard to place a price tag on the business and personal information that sits on that hardware. If the thought of losing mobile devices keeps your IT department up at night, there are a few simple steps that will help any company to keep the calm.
The first thing we all want to know is “where did my phone go?” If a mobile device management solution isn’t in place, then installing a basic “Find My Phone” Security App should be one of the first things done before deploying a device to an end-user. Whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry or an Android device, rest assured there’s an app for accomplishing this.
MobileMe (set to transition to iCloud by the end of June 2012) is an excellent free service for companies that have deployed a small number of iPhones. This service, which uses an individual’s Apple ID, works with the Find My iPhone app (designed for both iPhone and iPad) to display a missing IOS device on a web based map. With such an app installed, you can easily track down your mobile device and remotely lock it - or even better remotely erase your data.
For a small fee per device it is also easy to manage small numbers of Android and Blackberry users through services such as Track and Protect or TracknShield. Sure, these are simple apps, but they absolutely help to locate, lock and wipe lost or stolen phones using SMS commands that are transmitted to the device. Even this simple level of management control is often lacking at most smaller businesses, and will make a substantial difference to peace of mind.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
With the number of different smartphones on the market, larger companies are now supporting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment. In order to protect these devices, or more importantly the enterprise data on them, it is incumbent on these companies to seriously consider deploying a formal MDM solution that will assist the IT department in managing not only a high quantity of devices, but also the different operating systems that drive them, through a single management solution platform.
MobileIron is one of many MDM Solutions that provide a robust management console which covers all of today’s smartphone operating systems. For those looking for military-grade security in enterprise-class mobile management, one should definitely look at Good for Government, a product of Good Technology.
With a MDM solution in place, a company can then further create geo-fences, which would provide alerts if a given mobile device suddenly appears outside of its normal geographic area. This is a great proactive tool that would assist in not only recovering a device, but in indicating a device has been possibly stolen.
Even with all the security software in place, a mobile device can still be unrecoverable. With this in mind, it is imperative that your company reports the loss to the mobile carrier the device is associated with in order for the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) to be tracked, changed or disabled. Lastly, don’t forget to report the device as stolen or lost to your local police. This last bit of advice may seem intuitive, but I guarantee that it isn’t. Make it your company’s policy.
Jeff Koonce is the IT infrastructure manager for our kids of Miami-Dade, FL, and a contributing editor for mobile enterprise