Mobile management: Advice for mobile managers

This series on mobile management lays out the key issues for enterprise management, mobility management, and device management. It delves into such topics as mobile architectures and processes, mobile-specific management solutions, carrier mobile device management approaches, security, certificates and authentication, policies and finishes with a best practice guide for mobile managers.

This series on mobile management lays out the key issues for enterprise management, mobility management and device management. Various parties claim to have solutions for some or all of the aforementioned challenges, and we will investigate the gaps between these approaches. For now, there is no such thing as "one stop shopping" for enterprise management that also includes management for mobility and mobile devices.

Read more in the introduction to mobile management.

Mobility and enterprise management
Traditional enterprise management platforms address mobility by providing management tools for mobile PCs and/or laptop computers. By limiting mobility management to personal computers, enterprise management platforms are challenged to address the managerial requirements of new classes of mobile devices, including handhelds, PDAs, smartphones, tablets, USB keys and anything else that can be loosely classified as "corporate mobile computing."

Read more about mobility and enterprise management in Part II of this series.

Mobility crisis -- Architecture and process
In the long run, mobility will be just another part of an enterprise architecture. Processes for managing and integrating mobile requirements will also become commonplace. Before we reach this point, we must first deal with the dual crises created by the proliferation of disparate mobility architectures and the lack of established mobility processes.

Read more about mobile architectures and processes in Part III of this series.

Mobility-specific management solutions
Today, there is a growing number of mobility-specific management solutions. These include support for multiple device platforms, as well as vertically integrated solutions. The evolution of these mobility platforms creates an integration point with existing enterprise management infrastructure.

Read more about mobile-specific management solutions in Part IV of this series.

Carrier mobile device management approaches in the enterprise
Mobile operators are an important piece of the puzzle because it is clear that the carrier retail channel has come to dominate distribution for mobile devices. Those readers waiting for a three-tier, IT-style distribution channel may be waiting for a very long time. One way or the other, the carrier will be involved with the device, the software load and possibly some aspect of support.

Mobile operators are investing heavily in Over The Air (OTA) technologies and devices compliant with the OMA Device Management (OMA DM) specification. These technologies have been nominally designed with the enterprise in mind, but without direct involvement from large enterprise IT organizations or many of the vendors more commonly associated with mobility and enterprise management. OTA and OMA DM raise as many questions as the technologies claim to answer, and it is currently unclear whether OMA DM is a "bill of goods" that the carriers will try to sell to the enterprise.

Read more about Carrier mobile device management approaches in the enterprise in Part V of this series.

Security, certificates and authentication
One reason why the mobile device is so important to the concept of mobility is security. Various approaches to telephony, data, email and other applications have come to rely on the device, or a certificate on that device, as the basis for a security schema. So whether we're talking about a BlackBerry tunnel, a VPN or user authentication, any of these approaches requires some form of two-factor authentication, and a component of the mobile device (e.g., MAC address, SIM, etc.) is one of those factors. Any mobility management solution must provide for integration with security architectures.

Read more about mobile security, certificates and authentication in Part VI of this series.

Policy, process and best practices
Our old policies and processes are ready to grow up with mobility. As more IT departments develop expertise in this area, we will have industry-wide understanding of best practices for mobility. True enterprise mobility is currently limited to a targeted set of activity profiles (field services, field sale and management, to name a few), but a maturing set of best practices will facilitate the adoption of mobility across the enterprise.

Read more about mobile policies and processes in Part VII of this series.

Taylor finishes this insightful series with a best practices and buying guide for mobile managers planning an architecture for corporate mobility management.

Read Taylor's best practices for mobile management in the conclusion of this series.

Daniel Taylor
About the author: Daniel Taylor is managing director for the Mobile Enterprise Alliance, Inc. (MEA), and he is responsible for global alliance development, programs, marketing and member relations. He brings over fourteen years of high technology experience and is well known as a subject matter expert on many of the aspects of mobility, including wireless data networking, security, enterprise applications and communications services. Prior to the MEA, Dan held a number of product marketing and development positions in the communications industry.

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