Wavelink Blog


Why Small Businesses Should Still Care About MDM

It started with a simple $5 wristband in November 2011; Let’s Create Jobs for USA was founded with a $5 million contribution from Starbucks and a promise to create jobs for the American people. I vividly remember purchasing my wristband when they went on sale (ironically I was in the company’s hometown of Seattle). As someone who lives in a state that’s seen substantial unemployment, I was eager to play a small part in launching the movement.

As part of my weekly Starbucks visits (I won’t admit to a daily addiction), I recently noticed that they’ve taken this movement one step further by assisting small businesses on the technology payment front through a payment processing option called Square Mobile Card Readers.

Available in every company operated Starbucks store in the United States, “Square’s Mobile Card Reader with the free app, Square Register, enables anyone to easily accept credit cards so individuals and business can connect with customersSquare Card Reader anywhere their business takes them.” This simple tech attaches to an iOS or Android device and enables any size business to accept credit and debit cards. According to Starbucks roughly two-thirds of the 27 million small businesses in the United States do not currently accept credit or debit payment due to expensive processing fees and extensive applications. Think of the potential this small mobile card reader can bring to a small business and talk about a low investment – these card readers cost only $10 and come with a $10 rebate!

Say what you will about fancy and expensive coffees, but this is a highly effective tool that allows small businesses to generate new ways for income. Having said that, I won’t lie that my second thought was PCI compliance and keeping those devices secure. Any mobile device, be it rugged or consumer, has the capability to suffer a security breach. Add additional devices to your network and you further increase the importance of keeping them not only secure but maintaining peak performance. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution therefore still provides substantial value to any business whether you have two or three devices or two or three thousand devices.

For small business owners, a MDM solution that you manage in the Cloud is a perfect way to ensure devices are not only secure, but configured and managed from an easy-to-use console and without the need to purchase servers or an entire IT department. With MDM you also get the capability to lock down these consumer devices if they go missing and immediately protect them by securing and wiping confidential data. You even have the power to detect foreign devices entering your network and define specific parameters that your device(s) can be utilized in.

In closing, while we look at new ways to add jobs let’s not forget the critical nature of protecting the devices that come with them.

2013 MDM Resolutions for Success


With plenty of 2013 predictions focusing on the continued rise of mobile, we imagine that many IT organizations will be revisiting their MDM “wish lists” and redefining their focus areas to address the new set of challenges anticipated for the year.  To help prepare you for 2013’s challenges, we’ve highlighted a few MDM resolutions to consider for your IT and overall business success in the coming year.

Plan for BYOA (whether or not your company allows BYOD)

Even if the mobile devices your employees are using are company-owned, and personal devices aren’t sanctioned for business use, your IT department will likely recognize (if yours hasn’t already) a need for an application management strategy. Not only are consumers accustomed to using the same mobile devices they use for work to play Angry Birds, but the increasingly self-reliant workforce is comfortable finding their own external programs and applications to help with job productivity. These apps could include programs that put sensitive company data at risk of being lost or compromised. Address the issue of potentially harmful apps by implementing a management strategy that grants access to previously-blessed programs or prohibits access to those that may be risky. Enterprise app stores that work in tandem with your MDM solution can help align BYOA plans with the overall management of the device.

Keep Considering Consumerization

Basic mobile device management begins with support of popular operating systems and consumer-like capabilities. Embracing this reality helps create a working environment that delivers an optimal employee user experience, increased productivity,

and an overall familiarity in approach that employees will appreciate.  Recently, Gartner reported that IT departments have increasingly


shaped their enterprise device offerings with consumer preferences in mind.  Gartner points out that the presence of Android and iOS will only increase in the enterprise. With more and more companies switching from traditional ruggedized devices to iPads and other consumer devices to accomplish tasks like product tracking, this year could mean potential hardware changes for your company. Consider accommodating the popularity of consumer options by choosing solutions that provide an optimized ability to manage popular operating systems.

Strengthen Mobile Security

While mobile is growing exponentially, you can expect that security risks to your mobile devices will grow along with it. Some mobile devices are even expecting new forms of cyber attacks that lock the user out of the device. The ubiquity of mobile computing has already caused and will continue to cause the increased targeting of mobile devices.  Safeguard your corporate devices (and devices used for business purposes) by planning for these types of attacks. Make sure you have the ability to locate any lost devices, remotely wipe, lock or reset as well as manage what can be downloaded to them.

What do you think of those resolutions? Would you add or remove some?

Has BYOD Been Naughty or Nice?

As IT organizations everywhere are restructuring their budgets for 2013, figuring out where their company should be spending and how much, it’s no secret that one of the areas that will require some careful consideration is BYOD. While there is certainly not a “one size fits all” approach, with clear-cut benefits to guide your organization’s decision on whether or not to support personal devices, there are certainly many aspects and even myths to mull over.

In the spirit of the holiday season (and finalizing IT spending for next year), I’ve made a naughty and nice list, which takes a quick look at a few pain points and things to look forward to, as you work toward implementing or fine-tuning a BYOD policy within your organization.


Hidden Costs: On the surface, BYOD comes across as a cost cutter, with the $70-ish per month required to operate the device falling to the end user. What organizations need to remember is that increased personal devices translates to increased mobile device management, which means you’ll need to invest in a reliable toolset to power and manage your BYOD environment – whether that means hiring additional manpower, or deploying an MDM solution that will help you safely and efficiently roll out your BYOD program.

Security Scares: As personal devices will consistently come and go, in and out of the corporate network, BYOD reasonably presents some concerning potential scenarios, such as external exposure of confidential emails, contact lists or sensitive company financial information. While IT can certainly take steps to safeguard information once the device is known to be lost, many employees don’t set up a password to secure their device (in a recent survey, only 29 percent of users reported they set passwords to keep their devices locked), and several minutes or hours can pass before he or she knows the device is lost. Employees holding out hope that their device will be found may even wait days before reporting the device missing to IT.

Too Many Toys to Track: Shiny new devices are popping up all the time, especially around the holidays. This can be especially problematic as it seems employees are walking in with new tablets right after IT has made a buying decision on which operating systems they’ll support with their MDM solution. IT has a tough decision to make: “should I focus on keeping up with the latest and greatest to satisfy all of my end users personal preferences, or only support a select number of systems and hope my end users don’t attempt to connect unsecured devices to corporate resources?”



Hidden Savings: After carefully considering the total cost of ownership of mobile assets, some companies have actually managed to capitalize on their decision to allow BYOD, such as Cisco, which recently told InformationWeek they’ve been able to reduce costs per user by 30 percent, despite a 98-percent increase in device count.

Controlled Productivity: While there are certainly risks associated with granting employees access to company info while on the

go, mobile device management has also come a long way in enabling IT to govern when, where and who can access the files needed to get the work done. Most MDM solutions now come with policy-setting features that allow IT to grant or disable access to specific applications or files. With devices that enter the enterprise without IT knowledge or consent, there are also default policies that can be applied to give the unknown device basic access to company Wi-Fi but maybe not email or enterprise apps.

You Can Satisfy the Majority: While some organizations may deem it more productive to support each employee’s individual device preference, most companies run a successful BYOD program by managing the most popular operating systems – such as iOS, Android and Windows. A quick survey of your employees’ device OS “wish lists” should help you identify the majority rule for your company.


As you can see, there are opportunities and concerns associated with several, if not all aspects of BYOD. The key to rolling out your BYOD plan for 2013 is in evaluating how your company could potentially benefit versus how much you’d need to invest to maintain the benefits and safeguard against the potential pain points. Are the benefits really “nice,” or could they end up turning “naughty?”



“Big News at Gartner Symposium – A Sneak Peek” – Guest Blog

Good afternoon everyone! Nearly all of you are familiar with Gartner, and next week they will be holding the Gartner Symposium ITXP in Orlando. Our sister company, LANDesk, has some big news that will be announced at the show. Below is a guest blog post from Steve Workman, LANDesk’s VP of Product Management.

Network World recently reported on a survey finding which stated the average enterprise user will have 3.47 devices by 2015 and 6.58 devices by 2020. For me, it’s already difficult enough to juggle a smartphone, laptop and tablet, so imagining carrying at least 6 devices within a decade is a bit daunting. And that’s just from the end-user perspective. Just imagine how IT feels! 

Not only does IT have to consider the management, compliance and security of all of these devices but then there is the issue of cost. With the standard device-based pricing model applied to 6 devices per user in an enterprise a few thousand, the numbers don’t look good…

Clearly, the consumerization of the enterprise and BYOD model have changed IT forever. Isn’t it time the pricing model changed too?

We think so and will be making an announcement next week at the Gartner Symposium ITXPO in Orlando. We are thrilled about the changes we have in the works and believe they mark the way forward for the IT industry as a whole. If you’re in Orlando, please stop by and visit us at Booth #MP9 or stay tuned for our announcements via our Press Releases page.  Also, don’t miss our own Jesse Frye and Ian Aitchison discussing how to “Increase Organizational Productivity Through ‘User-Oriented Management” on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 3:15 in the Dolphin – Southern II Room.”



Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM

Everyday, I see updates and conversations on various sites and forums about MDM/BYOD/etc. Many are from LinkedIn forums, which usually contain some initially good discussions, before they turn into sales pitches for various providers. Nowadays, with all of the buzzwords surrounding the enterprise mobility space, it’s hard to weed through the murky stuff, and get to the bottom of what’s important about MDM: defining your mobile ecosystem.

Until your mobile ecosystem is defined, it’s hard to determine what the needs are, and ultimately, will delay your return on investment. As we’ve discussed in the past with many BYOD topics, it’s important to have a clear plan on what your unique needs are in the enterprise. What’s the landscape of devices like? Do you have all rugged devices, or do you also have smart devices you need to manage? What about network infrastructure? Do you need to manage the wireless access points in addition to the devices? Do you have one, or many locations you’ll need to have insight over?

The point is that every mobile ecosystem is different, and take caution when doing your research, as to not get caught up in the buzz and spin. The truth is that very few enterprises are alike, and being able to work with a trusted advisor to determine the best plan of action will lead to quicker implementation, faster ROI, and a more efficient enterprise.

As a side note, if you would like to join a LinkedIn group that avoids the jargon, we’re looking to get a solid group who are interested in discussing topics, not sales pitches, in our Mobile Ecosystem group. Check it out, and strike up a conversation!

Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 2

Good afternoon! Last week, in Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 1, we discussed whether or not BYOD will save your company money.

Today, we will look at the second aspect of BYOD that needs to be considered, and is closely related to the IT cost benefits: What security challenges and risks will face your IT folks in a BYOD world? The IT and security challenges are complex and many. What happens when someone’s device is lost? What happens when a CEO becomes a victim of corporate espionage (this is not just paranoia, it actually does happen) and her device is stolen by the competition? How much control can the company have over employees’ devices? There’s obviously a myriad of other security questions that need to be addressed for BYOD security but you get the picture, it’s daunting.

Most experts agree that the single most important element in a BYOD environment is having explicit policies surrounding employee devices. In fact, in a recent article by Muneyb Minhazuddin of Australian-based Dynamicbusiness.com it’s as important as having a phone number or a quality Web site.

That being said, policies are only effective if they are adhered to and enforced. Penalties for infractions need to be clear, concise and, most importantly, enforced. Sometimes employees make mistakes; sometimes they are outright stupid. When rules are broken there needs to be a clear solution available to fix any problems the infraction may have caused and people need to be reprimanded accordingly.

Even with strong BYOD policies in place keep in mind that the human element tends to really mess things up. Look long and extremely hard before you enter the BYOD arena.


Questions to Ask About BYOD

BYOD. Today it seems everyone involved in any way with enterprise mobility management is constantly being barraged with the term. It’s a buzzword that just isn’t going away, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. It seems like everyone in the industry has a different take on whether BYOD is a positive or a negative. There are definitely many cases for and against it, but I think most people considering BYOD don’t even ask the most important question: What is the real reason they want to implement BYOD?

BYOD in the Mobile Ecosystem

It sounds basic but this is something that’s almost always overlooked. Is an organization doing it to save money? Is a company looking to BYOD to help increase employee productivity? What IT and security challenges will implementing BYOD raise for a business? In regards to making a decision on BYOD a company needs to weigh both pros AND cons. It’s important that they don’t just jump on board because it’s the hot trending topic. It may be right for your organization or it may be entirely wrong.

In what will be a two-part series, we’re going to focus on two of the questions listed in the paragraph above: the cost of BYOD for a business and IT, and security challenges of implementing BYOD.


Myths of BYOD

If you ever visit one of the public food courts in Singapore, you’ll find that there are as many as 85 different food vendors and outdoor kitchens side-by-side. Most of these have exactly the same menu as the vendor next to them and they will proudly tell you that. When begin your decision process, the vendors move from talking about the food and how good they can make it taste, and move the sale to talking about why their chef is better than the rest, or why their customer service is a differentiator. From where I sit, BYOD and MDM may have started to morph into exactly that.

Now, I’m not trying to belittle or downplay the importance of the BYOD market, but there have been scores of new vendors that have popped up in the last couple of years, and they are starting to sound a bit like these food vendors by sharing the same features and capabilities. One thing we’ve noticed is that there are some myths that need a little debunking. We’re not saying this just to stir the pot, but most companies need to strongly consider if BYOD is really for them.

BYOD in the Enterprise

Is this really going to save me money?

This has been a huge topic, and there have been a number of studies into whether or not BYOD saves money for those who implement it.

Cisco, for instance, stated a 17-22 percent savings, but that’s not the norm. Tom Kaneshige points out that while hardware costs might be lower, and they no longer have to worry about acquisition cycles, there are hidden costs. A lot of the BYOD crowd is basing savings on workers bringing their own mobile devices to work – tablets, phones, etc. so there is a trade-off between acquisition costs and a number of aspects of control.

One place that costs creep back in is in service plans, and allowing workers to purchase their own vs a negotiated corporate agreement. An Aberdeen report indicates that a big corporate wireless plan breaks down to about $60 per person while the average reimbursement for a BYOD smartphone is $70. If you’re a big enterprise, that can add up really quickly. Kaneshige’s article goes on about other hidden costs, and what it surmises is sometimes you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Completely secure

We run up against this all the time. Companies will say that they have verbal and written policies in place. We have the firewall, a secure VPN, etc. but when you start to ask questions things begin to fall apart. A recent study asked workers about using their mobile devices remotely, only 29 percent of users have set passwords that would prevent their device from being used by a thief or co-worker.

While a stranger might not be able to get on the network, without a pass code on the phone, someone could surely access contact lists, to do lists, and company email to access and review a lot of data that companies don’t want other people view or have access.


This has been one of the biggest claims amongst those who are leading the BYOD charge. They claim that using a device they “know” will make them work faster and be more productive. They may be more familiar with their device reducing confusion about how the device works, but how much time are they spending playing Angry Birds, keeping up with Words with Friends, posting on Facebook, etc. that isn’t being or can’t be enforced by the company?

There’s no concrete evidence that this is going on, but if my friend, who is using his phone for work, is a test case, then I would suggest it’s more than his employer would like.


BYOD isn’t inherently bad or good. Whether it really works for you depends on how you do business, secure your enterprise, and manage your costs, employees, and infrastructure. I thought it might be useful to at least start talking about a few of the widely cited myths and panacea expectations that we encounter as we talk to potential enterprises considering allowing employees to use their personal devices and computers as part of enterprise working assets. BYOD can be useful and may make sense for you – clearly define your requirements, policies, and expectations moving forward. Make sure you understand how your workforce uses technology and the trade offs of personal freedom on productivity. With that said, you also need to know there are some rough, potentially sharp and harmful edges associated with employing BYOD. I didn’t even mention the potential headaches that accompanies managing BYOD, depending on whatever your definition of managing it might be. Bottom line, can you really control what you don’t own, or should that even be a realistic expectation?

BYOD Security in the Mobile Ecosystem

I was speaking with Kelly Ungs yesterday and he pointed me towards an interesting article over at the EMF.org about BYOD. The article makes a point about some of the liabilities around BYOD policies, and I thought it was worth sharing.

The article specifically references the recent info about IBM’s struggles with BYOD policies, and something jumped out at me that continues to be an issue in the BYOD space – security. The issue, of course, being that employee’s usually don’t mean to introduce risks into the enterprise, but sometimes do simply out of pure, accidental error.

“We found a tremendous lack of awareness as to what constitutes a risk,” says {Jeanette} Horan. So now, she says, “we’re trying to make people aware.”

Security is a huge issue, and it’s important that companies take it into consideration, regardless of it being tied to a BYOD policy or not. Further, it’s also important that companies can secure the network(s) that these devices are connecting to. Remember, it’s not just the information on the device that’s at risk. It’s also the information the device can tap into. Remember that factor, and check out the articles above. Let us know what you think about security and BYOD in the comments below, or start a new discussion in our LinkedIn group.

Enterprise Mobile Security: Making sure IT professionals feel protected

Whether you feel that BYOD is here to stay or if you feel it’s a passing trend with a hot buzzword, the reality is that employees are using their own personal devices in the work place more and more. The bigger reality is that not all of those devices have been approved by corporate IT and therefore policies aren’t in place to keep critical data on those devices safe. In a survey by AirTight Networks 37% of people interviewed said that iPads, iPhones and Android devices were sanctioned technology in their environment. Of those same people surveyed 47% said their organizations supported applications that users were accessing. Not too bad. But when further interviewed a whopping 69% said they were concerned that employees were using mobile hotspots to bypass corporate policies and were concerned about the security of data being transmitted.

With the sheer proliferation of smart devices it isn’t hard to deduce that there are a great many people who have just added their company email to their iPhone quickly and easily and didn’t give it a second thought that these devices weren’t sanctioned or a cause for concern. Checking personal and work email on the go is common for the average employee (and with the iPhone for example you can conveniently get both with one tap). So where do organizations go? Can you force an employee to turn over their personal devices when they pay the bill? What if they pay half the bill and the company picks up the other half? As a corporate IT department can you mandate that job security is directly correlated to use of a smart device? The latter is of course extreme but when confidential information is being accessed on an employee’s personal device the loss of that device could significantly hurt an employer.

A “hope for the best” attitude isn’t proactive either. That “hope for the best” attitude was what 22% of those surveyed responded with – hopefully it isn’t an organization that stores medical information or defense information. So what can an organization do? Educating employees and communicating with employees seems elementary but makes sense. Depending on your business simply asking employees to password protect access to their smart phones is a pretty easy route to take and for those organizations who know sensitive information is being access by employees, a mobile device management software solution really eliminates risks. When BYOD’s are treated like the rest of your ruggedized devices and peripherals it makes BYOD a lot less scary.

Whether it’s a lasting trend or simply a blip until the next greatest invention, airing on the side of caution means either way your data is protected.