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Moving to a multi-OS mobile environment – beyond BlackBerry


Ojas-RegeBy Ojas Rege, VP Strategy, MobileIron

For years, BlackBerry dominated the enterprise mobile phone market. Happy with the way it worked, each man and his dog had a BlackBerry in the business world.Your IT team liked the solution because it could both control it end-to-end and lock the devices down much like laptops. BlackBerry was the leader of enterprise mobility until the competition arrived. The introduction of iPhones, iPads, Android, the consumerisation of IT and the increasing need for flexible working patterns has meant that the era of one-size-fits all mobile has drawn to a close.

Today it’s the highly regulated industries of finance and government that are the last remaining strongholds for BlackBerry-only use. But even that is changing – in late 2012 even the US immigration service announced it was scrapping BlackBerry and opting for iPhone. Increasingly financial organisations are migrating towards an environment that encompasses more than one mobile platform, and more than one device ownership model as they evaluate Bring Your Own Device programs.

When faced with the choice it seems most users will opt for something other than BlackBerry. For example, one of our customers, whilst implementing MobileIron, offered their users the choice between using BlackBerrys or iPhones; 85% of users chose iPhone and 15% chose BlackBerry. We see this same thing across the board with many of our customers.Despite the new BlackBerry product releases, recent statistics reveal that Apple devices are now accounting for nearly 80% of mobile enterprise traffic. Multi-OS is the new and inevitable reality and companies across the globe need to plan to migrate off BlackBerry.

Security is at the top of your agenda so you need to ensure that you can have sight of all the devices that are accessing corporate data. More importantly you need to be able to control the way they use this data. This includes:

* Enforcing which apps can be used to view documents.
* Making sure that documents stored on the device are secure.
* Selectively wiping corporate information and documents when the user or device falls out of compliance.
* Blocking clipboard (cut/copy/paste) access to enterprise content.
* Controlling whether third-party apps can access stored documents

As new mobile devices continue to roll out across financial institutions and employees get more of a say on which devices they use, the single OS, closed-system approach will no longer prevail, and most BlackBerry deployments will gradually mix with Android and iOS devices. Mobile administrators urgently need a better way to manage this diverse and dispersed landscape.

How can your organisation make the transition into new realms of mobility run a little more smoothly? Here are seven steps to help you get started on a move toward a multi-OS environment:

1. Determine your preferred mobile platforms-which mobile platforms will your employees be using? Apple, Android, Windows Phone 8, … or BlackBerry? Ask them. They will tell you.
2. Determine ownership model – will it be corporate- or employee-owned?
3. Plan for a phased
migration to multi-OS – will you move away from BlackBerry straight away or keep it there for those who don’t want to migrate?
4. Block and tackle the apps-start with your most important app, email. Standardise email, enable passcodes and mandating encryption across all devices.
5. Setup a ‘single pane of glass’ view -the best way for IT to manage all types of devices is for them to be able to do it in one place. Deploy a management solution for both apps and devices that integrates with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (or doesn’t, depending on point 3) and enables clear, and granular, visibility of the device and app estate.
6. Set up groupings and policies – divide your users into user groups – decide who can have access to what and where. E.g. senior execs will have access to documents that the customer service team won’t.
7. Plan next steps– where do you want to go next? Do your users want to use productivity apps? Which user groups need what apps?

As financial organisations inevitably move towards embracing mobility as their primary IT platform, they have to move fast and on-board new technologies rapidly. It’s also imperative that they’re able to manage these devices rapidly too. In our next article we’ll be looking at some of the management pitfalls to avoid and offer some best practice on managing your multi-OS mobile estate to help you prepare for the Mobile First era of computing.





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