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5 more post-holiday BYOD strategies and considerations

Steve Ragan | Jan. 3, 2014
Now that the holidays have come and gone, it's time to focus on mitigating the problems associated with employees returning to work with a bevy of new devices.

Budget constraints (Is it free?):

MDM offerings can be costly, and budgets are tight. No matter how affordable some vendors make their products, some organizations simply cannot swing the expense. When that happens, the business chooses to accept the security risks and problems that can arise due to BYOD initiatives. We asked Dale about this situation, and he noted that it really isn't an option to enable mobility without a proper mobility management platform.

"Several companies we know could not leverage tablets for their sales team or enable BYOD without a solution. Its no longer about [enterprise mobility management] cost per device. It is simply necessary to enable mobility," Dale said.

With that said, there are free alternatives on the market. One such alternative is Spiceworks.

Spiceworks will enable basic MDM, such as monitoring, reporting, and security including monitoring app installation, checking for jailbroken devices, and passcode enforcement. It's also a general IT application that includes other services such as helpdesk and network management.

The catch however, is that it is vendor supported, and some functionality is only available if discounted licenses are purchased. MDM restrictions include remote wipe, group policy management and enforcement, and mobile app distribution. So it's free, but not completely free.

Another alternative, which is actually rather comprehensive, is Cisco's Meraki. Cisco's cloud-based management platform works with iOS, OS X, Windows, and Android, and offers a wide range of options, including security and granular management.

It's free, and Cisco does this because they hope the organization will enjoy it so much that "you'll consider other Cisco Meraki products when you're ready to upgrade your Wi-Fi, switching, or security appliance infrastructure."

But there's a catch. As it turns out, Meraki profiles can be removed from the device. In an FAQ, Cisco addresses this issue by offering the following advice:

"On iOS devices, due to Apple's restrictions, there's nothing that prevents a savvy user from doing this. Thus, we encourage administrators to provide incentive to the user to keep the profile on the device, for example by including the wireless network credentials in the MDM profile. Then, if the profile is removed, so is network access. Administrators can also configure email alerts to be sent in the event a profile is removed."

Free can be good for the budget, but when it comes to the influx of employee owned devices, and the fact that most employees choose to work from anywhere they happen to be located at any given moment, free could end up being rather problematic and costly in the long run.


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