Best BYOD management: Work zones for smartphones

Emerging containerization technologies create a separate, protected workspace on employees' personal smartphones.

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Directory integration is another area where tools are still evolving. "We'd like to see more integration with Active Directory and with PeopleSoft or whatever the source of record is to control user profiles -- ideally, tighter integration that would disable access automatically or restrict access to published applications based on a user's role," Terry says. Today, businesses may need to turn to integrators such as Vox Mobile to provide that level of integration.

Containerization can also make it difficult to provide tech support for users' personal devices if IT doesn't have visibility into the performance of the total device, says Steve Chong, manager of messaging and collaboration at Union Bank, which uses Good for Enterprise. He notes that there are a number of questions that are difficult to answer with containerization: Is the problem related to signal strength? Has the user run out of storage space? Is there a way for IT to remotely access the phone to diagnose issues?

"Having agents on the phone means that it needs to be constantly on all the time for data gathering, but that means that it will consume phone resources," Chong says. Also, it's "software that now needs to be managed and updated on users' phones."

Today, organizations with BYOD programs either aren't using MDM or are using basic tools like Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, which allows mobile access to users' Exchange email and calendars. "The next phase is getting to MDM. Then [IT] can look at application security and management," Redman says.

At CareerBuilder, a jobs website and staffing firm, employees who want to use their own phones can connect to the enterprise via ActiveSync, but downloaded data is not encrypted unless the user does so at the device level. Further, IT doesn't offer support for users connecting with their own smartphones.

CareerBuilder users can also install, on their own, apps to access SaaS applications such as Concur and "We defaulted to that," says Roger Fugett, senior vice president of IT. But with nearly half of the company's 2,600 employees now bringing their own devices, Fugett says he's taking a hard look at the potential risks and how to mitigate them. Containerization and general MDM tools are on his radar. 

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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