Four steps to take control of your mobile devices

Managing every iPhone, Android device and connection is key, wireless experts say

Protecting every piece of data

Selective data encryption should be an essential item in any mobile deployment.

With a managed mobile device, you can distribute and enforce encryption policies for specific data. “Document folders, your e-mail in-box, user data, contacts, certificates, and so on as the kinds of things that should be encrypted,” consultant Gold says. Also consider encrypted or encryptable removable storage devices, such as high-capacity SD cards, he says.

“Unless you’re in a ‘James Bond environment,’ most encryption levels will give you far more security than sending an unencrypted e-mail over the Internet, which happens all the time,” Croft says.

Educating every user

“Few companies educate end users on the proper procedures and policies to safeguard [mobile] corporate assets,” Gold says. “Get the users on your side.”

“The greatest vulnerability is human,” Enterprise Mobile's Salmon says. “If a stranger asked to borrow your laptop for five minutes to check his stock portfolio, you’d say “No!” because you’ve been educated about the risks. There’s no way you’re going to let a stranger use your laptop. The same thinking has to apply to your mobile phone.”

To school its nurses in mobile technology, Florida Hospital relies on trainers who also have been, or are, nurses. “They speak the same language as the users,” Associate CTO Franz says. “We try to keep IT people out of the way of this training, because they do not speak the same language.”

Franz makes a key point about nurses and mobile technology that’s relevant to all such deployments. “People don’t go to nursing school to become a clerk-typist,” he says. “They go because they want to help people. Technology can assist them in doing that.”

Acceptable use policies should be short and to the point, otherwise they won’t get read. Training should cover all the elements (explaining the device, applications and intended usage), says Alphons Evers, global solutions manager with the mobility practice of Getronics, a global IT services company.

Educating users means willing to be educated yourself. Franz says Florida Hospital discovered that one major problem facing nurses with wireless laptops was finding enough convenient surface space with electrical power so they could be recharged, and finding a lockable locker or drawer to store the laptops when not in use. That was one aspect of mobility that hadn’t been anticipated.

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John Cox

Network World
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