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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.

Consider SAM and SLM When Crafting BYOD Policy - and Vice Versa
One driver for continued adoption and expansion of mobile devices is that it grants users some control over their mobile computing experiences. The benefits to the company and the employee of a BYOD policy are well documented, but a no-holds-barred BYOD policy can also pose significant compliance issues that may outweigh those perceived benefits.

If a company cedes to users the decision to bring any mobile device into a corporate IT environment, and if the company allows those users to expect seamless integration (and support) within a corporate IT environment, then the job of monitoring SAM and SLM on mobile devices gets exponentially more difficult, if not impossible.

Companies must strike a balance between the wishes of the user community and the absolute corporate requirement to manage compliance on all mobile devices, including BYOD. As a result, a company's BYOD policy is likely to support only certain types of mobile devices, platforms and operating systems for corporate use.

Recognizing that all mobile devices must be managed to ensure SAM and SLM compliance, many considerations must be factored into any discussion of supporting mobile devices on the corporate network. Which mobile platforms are compatible with SAM and SLM software while integrating into the corporate SAM and SLM infrastructure?

If you're lucky, your current SAM and SLM software vendor offers software that runs on a variety mobile devices, usually via an agent installed on the mobile device. If not, you must either find a vendor whose software can be integrated into existing corporate SAM and SLM software or replace that corporate SAM and SLM software with software that supports both mobile and non-mobile SAM and SLM platforms.

SAM, SLM Present Challenges on Mobile Devices
If your company lets users bring their own mobile devices, someone must install SAM and SLM agent(s) on them all. This is as much an internal process question as it is a technical one. What if 100, 1,000 or 10,000 users sign up for the new BYOD program? How will all those SAM and SLM agents get installed on all those mobile devices?

(Of course, your company may choose to provide mobile devices to employees with business requirements for their use. If so, you can include installation of SAM and SLM software as part of your normal staging and deployment process for new computers or devices.)

Another challenge in ensuring SAM and SLM compliance for mobile devices is the variety of mobile devices and operating systems available. As with any software designed for mobile use, SAM and SLM software may not support every specific hardware platform that users might present in a BYOD scenario, such as an old iPad II or an Android-based tablet from a specific manufacturer. Likewise, your SAM and SLM software may not support every released version of iOS and Android that users might run.

 

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