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How to ensure SAM and SLM compliance in mobile environments

Earl Follis and Ed Tittel | April 10, 2014
Software asset management and software license management aren't just for on-premises assets. Find out how they can help you ensure compliance with software policies and agreements across mobile devices as well.

mobile security

As our newly coined adage states: "If you allow it, they will come ... and they will bring their tablets and smartphones with them." Many companies have already come to grips with the reality that bring your own device (BYOD) is what their users really, really want.

That said, there are some prescriptive management considerations that might not be part of a technical evaluation aimed at integrating mobile devices into a corporate network, be those devices either user- or corporate-owned assets.

Ensuring compliance with corporate policies and regulatory requirements is a key consideration, and planning how your organization will manage compliance on mobile devices is an ongoing concern for technology managers and executives. Software asset management (SAM) and software license management (SLM) on mobile devices are two concerns that must also be addressed to avoid transforming BYOD into " bring your own disaster" (instead of the more typical interpretation).

The BYOD concept continues to grow as users expect their personal mobile devices to be accepted in, integrated with and supported by corporate IT shops the world over. Many companies have performed their own cost/benefit analyses and see an opportunity to preserve capital budget by implementing BYOD policies in the workplace. Other companies see an easier, better-controlled road by providing mobile devices to those users whose job roles justify such expenses.

In reality, using mobile technology in a corporate environment poses a unique set of challenges above and beyond immediate issues of security, compatibility and support. Compared to a secure, IT-issued and controlled desktop hard-wired to a corporate network, most mobile devices possess few of the intrinsic security capabilities found in deskbound systems. Fortunately, SAM and SLM tools now available run on a variety of mobile platforms, including Apple's mobile products and Android-based mobile devices.

Mobile SAM and SLM Software Critical in BYOD Environments
obile SAM and SLM solutions must offer the same features and capabilities that non-mobile SAM and SLM software does. The goal is to include mobile devices in the software asset discovery and management process while also managing software licenses on such devices. Given that software license purchases are typically negotiated by a central procurement department and leverage volume discounts for all users, it's imperative that mobile licenses be included in corporate software purchases so as to maximize volume discounts.

If your mobile device policy accommodates BYOD, SAM software becomes critical to your corporate network. This is thanks to the lax security in many mobile apps as well as significant security exposure in third-party mobile apps purpose-built to mine personal data from mobile device users.

Even if a mobile app mines data only from something as seemingly innocuous as a Twitter feed or Facebook app on the mobile device, that could expose enough personal data to allow bad actors to reverse-engineer corporate passwords.

 

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