Endless complexity and the role of IT
The management of mobile devices is far more complex than before due to multiple variables that have appeared or accelerated because of changing support requirements introduced by the global pandemic. While there has been a steady migration to the cloud for some time, there has been a genuine sense of urgency as corporations worldwide rapidly pivoted to a completely remote or hybrid structure. While this change brought many concerns and issues to the forefront, as businesses adjusted to the new productivity and support demands, they also discovered that employees working remotely were at least, if not more, productive than they had been prior to this shift. IT discovered it didn’t matter where employees were as long as the devices they used were patched, communications protected and sensitive data secured. All of this is possible, so long as IT has the right tools for the job.
IT’s latest challenge
Tracking devices is no easy task. Most users have moved from separate devices (work vs. personal) to one device for everything. And as they move to a remote work model, the line demarcating a work-life balance has seemingly blurred to the point of disappearing. This means IT's role in protecting data while not infringing on end-user privacy becomes a far greater challenge to balance; organizations and users were presented with a unique concern. Tracking mobile devices that routinely access critical information that was previously isolated behind the company’s firewall while not only preserving the privacy of users but also ensuring that personally owned data remains separate from company-owned data was now a critical business need and employee experience consideration.
The reason companies like Jamf are crucial for managing Apple devices is their ability to provide the tools necessary for organizations to strike a balance in the management, maintenance and security of their devices while in turn empowering end users to be more productive and reach greater achievements in light of such harrowing changes to our work and personal life balance.
A challenge that directly impacts the success of remote or hybrid workforces but has been made increasingly difficult during this shift is asset tracking and inventory management which are integral components of the IT asset management lifecycle. While everyone has a newfound appreciation for remote technologies, organizations — and by extension, IT — has the added risk of keeping meticulous inventory records of which devices are deployed, whom they’re assigned to, how they’re configured, what software and versions are installed on these devices, where they are, how and where they’re connecting from, how to ensure they are compliant and how to remediate issues found. This all begins with provisioning devices to geographically disparate users and ends with recovering these devices, should they be lost, misplaced or simply met their end of life and need decommissioning.
Depending on the organization’s risk appetite, the loss of a device may or may not affect the company’s operational status as all organizations can and will view this ever so differently. There are, however, regulatory considerations that your company may be required to comply with, and that’s where the waters become murky. Just to be clear, this doesn’t refer simply to nomophobia — the fear of losing one’s mobile device — but rather, the civil and/or criminal repercussions that are associated with violations stemming from loss or leakage of confidential data, or personally identifiable information(PII) in regulated sectors such as those governed by HIPAA, GDPR or FCA to name but a few.
Lastly, what is IT to do with all the data that stems from separate management systems for devices, software licensing, service utilization, security logs and alerting systems? Moreover, how does IT quantify all these aggregate data hundreds or thousands of times over – depending on the number of devices in their inventory – to essentially identify what problems exist, to what degree of criticality and help them to focus their efforts on remediating them? Luckily, being able to correlate the best of breed solutions into a holistic view using a “single pane of glass” is an ideal solution, particularly in remote and hybrid ecosystems where the security of endpoints is absolutely critical to the end user’s productivity and the larger organization’s success.
Combining a specialized Apple mobile device management (MDM) solution like Jamf with an enterprise technology management solution, like Oomnitza, ties the device to the broader IT ecosystem and provides a comprehensive integrated solution that is optimized to protect not only your mobile devices but also the underlying infrastructure —in essence, everything it interacts with. This operational model provides granular visibility to device health and compliance while simultaneously creating opportunities to address critical areas of concern, including:
- Security: Ensuring all devices have endpoint protection software to detect threats, prevent malware and implement the highest-level encryption for communications and data. Additionally, advanced analytics provide detailed information regarding device health, including details that are specific to the user and their location that provide insight into actions that may be crucial to protecting data. For example, why is the US-based CFO logging in from North Korea at 3 a.m.? This key information allows IT to be in a proactive position to not only know exactly what, when and where an action is occurring, but also to be able to shut down potential threats before they’re able to even start.
- Compliance: Privacy and security are incredibly large components of compliance. The requirements to becoming compliant can be complex; add to that the dynamic nature of technology, married with the challenges illustrated above, and remaining compliant can become equally as daunting as one endeavor that, unlike other projects, never ends. Having a clear understanding of the underlying health of the mobile devices in your fleet is imperative to ensuring compliance. Armed with this information, IT can adapt procedures and develop policies to ensure any non-compliance is swiftly and automatically remediated, bringing endpoints back into regulatory compliance.
- Enablement: There is nothing more aggravating than starting a new job, being totally psyched to hit the ground running and losing out on productivity time while awaiting the device and/or application provisioning process to get you the hardware, software and permissions you need to get to work. Getting a properly configured and secure device is the first key step to productivity. This is a core component of enterprise technology management and can make all the difference between a happy, motivated employee and an unhappy, unproductive one.
- Orchestration: Keeping track of devices as they move through their lifecycle — from purchasing through receiving, provisioning, deployment, security, maintenance and decommissioning, or end of life — is critical for the device, its security and adherence to compliance regulations. All devices integrate with multiple and highly varied data sources as they move along the lifecycle. Being able to track all of this in real-time is a huge competitive advantage.
- Optimization: Having exactly what you need when you need it is not only convenient but also highly efficient. Not having adequate licenses for mission-critical software can lead to unwelcome surprises, such as a sudden need to procure dozens (or even hundreds) of licenses in order to get end-users the tools they need. Conversely, paying for licenses and/or subscriptions to apps and services that are not being used is also a potential problem point, resulting in effectively throwing away money. Both are completely avoidable with the proper visibility into device reporting, including which apps and services are being used and to what degree.
The combination of Jamf's robust Apple device management solution and Oomnitza’s comprehensive enterprise management solution, provides layered management, security and compliance controls to your IT infrastructure.
This comes at a time when the mobile device infrastructure and the ecosystem it belongs to operate at highly dynamic levels, requiring a holistic, defensive in-depth approach to secure endpoints, keep data safe, maintain accurate inventory records and ensure regulatory compliance with granular insight and targeted auditing.