Recently at the IDC Enterprise Mobility conference, we had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable discussion with seven CIOs of seven very diverse organizations including a big energy company, a leading media firm, a large government organization and a key financial institution. The topic up for discussion was “Sharing best practices for optimizing, controlling, and securing mobile devices in the enterprise”.

Here are three key best practices that came out of the lively roundtable discussion:

  1. Transferring ownership from IT to the relevant business lines results in more efficient mobility. For example, one CIO implemented an “own your corporate device” strategy, which means that every device is written off in two years and ownership is transferred to the user afterwards. This led to a significant reduction in lost devices and support tickets. Another CIO uses a chargeback model to drive adoption of new technologies. For example, costs associated with specific mission-critical corporate apps are charged back across the departments that use them resulting in a substantial increase in its adoption.
  2. Container approach is a useful strategy in the adoption of new mobile devices, but isn’t a silver bullet for securing data.To paraphrase one of the CIO’s: “Without a doubt, losing one of these devices with our customer data on it is the worst thing that can happen to us”. No wonder that all but one of our participants implemented some form of “containerization” to ensure corporate data is ring-fenced on the device.  Big questions remain for our CIO’s, especially around the usability, support headaches, manageability and security challenges of containers.  To soften the security risks, one CIO implemented an Acceptable Usage Policy that excludes any corporate liability for data taken from BYO devices.
  3. Get used to a world without BlackBerry.  In the words of one CIO, “We’ve been barricading the doors for years, now we’re putting an army outside to stop unapproved, non-BB devices from entering the organisation”.  Whether or not BB will make a revival under the ownership of Fairfax (or someone else), our CIO’s across the board agreed that BB’s decline resulted in massive challenges coming to a head in the next 12 months. Unfortunately, embracing new enterprise mobile devices is easier said than done. One of the firms went through a fundamental shift in their security philosophy before they managed to do so. Their focus moved away from securing the device, or rather securing the consumption of data on the device, to securing the creation of the data. To summarize one CIO “unfortunately no other device will ever be as ‘locked down’ or ‘enterprise friendly’ as the BlackBerry.”

While there are many approaches to managing mobility in the enterprise, one thing is clear: the subject is top of the IT agenda for most CIOs.
What about you? What do you think about these best practices? Feel free to tweet us your thoughts.