Businesses Stay Secure with MDM Software
Top executives, business development managers and senior underwriters for Frederick Mutual Insurance in Frederick, Md., receive at least one mobile device from the company, and some even have two.
As a full-service provider of business insurance to carpenters, electricians and other skilled trade workers, the company also wants to be able to provide network access to a cadre of third-party claims adjusters in the aftermath of significant weather events.
CIO David Pitzer says the expanded requirement for mobile network access in the field — supported by his company’s lean four-person IT staff — led him to subscribe to Fiberlink’s MaaS360 cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) software.
“It doesn’t make sense to bring a lot of hardware in-house,” Pitzer says, noting that cloud services provide business continuity during weather events. “It really made a difference for us last year during the derecho that hit the East Coast.”
Amount of time it took Frederick Mutual Insurance to get up and running on Fiberlink MaaS360
Pitzer appreciates the platform’s straightforward management. The MaaS360 MDM service lets him easily enforce security capabilities such as disk encryption, password security and Wi-Fi settings, plus add the software employees need.
“I just email the users a link and they log on, approve the software and access some of our internal systems,” Pitzer explains. “It’s a powerful tool that lets us scale up quickly.”
Chris Silva, an Altimeter Group analyst who focuses on mobility, says MDM software provides a good first step for many organizations, especially those that have small IT staffs.
“MDM software gives companies the functional ability to manage the device, but the future leaders in this space will have a more nuanced approach centered around managing not just the device, but also data and applications,” says Silva. “As companies move toward BYOD, devices will come and go, and CIOs will focus more on applications.”
Banking on MDM
Needham Bank in Needham, Mass., also deployed MDM to keep its top executives and vice presidents in sync with the mobility trend.
Roughly 80 of the bank’s 150 employees have an iPad or iPhone, and the directors in particular need access to the corporate portal. James Gordon, first vice president of IT for Needham Bank, says, “Everyone wants an ‘i’ device, so we had to find a way to make them secure.”
Gordon selected an in-house version of MobileIron’s MDM solution, which runs as a virtual server and is easy to upgrade and manage.
While Needham Bank started off blocking Apple’s iCloud because of concerns about managing data in the cloud, Gordon says MobileIron software now allows him to encrypt data, applications and email attachments. “I can now allow iCloud because once I encrypt a file, it stays secure no matter where it goes,” he explains.
Chris Silva of the Altimeter Group advises IT managers to look for three features when evaluating mobile device management software.
- Partial device wipe: IT managers will need the ability to partially wipe a device of business email and data, leaving the rest of the contents untouched.
- Application customization: Some products support secure wrapping of a commercial app or customization to suit a company’s security posture. IT managers may also want to customize an application to meet the needs of the business, such as forcing data encryption or enabling a virtual private network.
- Wide platform support: Look for software that can support more than just Apple iOS and Android devices because BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 7 or 8 devices may make their way to the organization.