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Mobile device management guide: Keeping IT on the run

Mobile computing is about much more than just picking a wireless device. This CIO Briefing covers mobile technology deployment and management issues, as well as the all-important security concerns posed by mobile devices.

There's a reasonable chance that you're reading this via a device other than a desktop computer. That's because more and more of us are leaving the constraints of the office behind and embracing mobile technologies to stay connected. While a boon for workers, CIOs face the heady task of mobile device management -- meaning laptops, smartphones, personal digital assistants, etc. That isn't easy, but help is available. This CIO Briefing covers mobile technology deployment and management issues, as well as the all-important security concerns posed by mobile devices.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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  Mobile apps on the move: Don't get left behind
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The adoption of mobile technology is rapidly spreading in the corporate environment. Three quarters of the enterprises surveyed by Info-Tech either have mobile solutions in place, or plan to adopt in the near future.

This research note highlights and analyzes the trends shaping the mobile software market today. Specific topics include:

  • Business factors that drive the adoption of mobile applications.
  • Types of software under consideration for mobile adoption.
  • Connectivity requirements of different types of mobile software.

Info-Tech's analysis aims to help IT and business decision makers tackle mobile device management.

Learn more in "Mobile apps on the move: Don't get left behind." Also:

  • Mobile applications give workers flexibility
    Workers are finding the workplace can be anyplace -- at the office, at home, or even out at the ballgame -- if they are equipped with the right mobile equipment and applications.
  • Mobile voice encryption gets cheaper, easier to do (SearchMobileComputing.com)
    A new fingertip-sized voice encryption chip could lead to broader adoption of mobile device voice encryption.
  SanDisk readies 8 GB cards for mobile phones
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The first 8 GB removable memory cards for mobile phones will hit the market later this month from SanDisk Corp. The flash storage card maker is also negotiating with major content providers to preload their offerings, such as maps, on these cards.

The SanDisk Memory Stick Micro card, or M2, which doubles the previous high-capacity point, will primarily be used in Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

"Consumers will instantly have the same amount of storage as the largest-capacity iPhone," Jeff Kost, senior vice president and general manager of the mobile consumer solutions division at SanDisk, said in a statement in August when SanDisk began testing the cards with phone manufacturers and mobile network operators.

A single, high-density card can store more than 2,000 digital songs or five hours of MPEG-4 videos, or more than 5,000 high-resolution pictures. On the business-user front, an 8 GB card can enable faster rendering of PowerPoint slides, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and business applications such as customer relationship management tools. To date, mobile phones serving up business software have been hobbled by a lack of storage capacity, leading to slow access and a painful user experience.

Find out more in "SanDisk readies 8 GB cards for mobile phones." Also:

  Monitoring helps university find mobile users
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At Coppin State University, Dr. Ahmed El-Haggan, the school's vice president of IT and CIO, was challenged by the highly mobile nature of his end users.

Students at the Baltimore school could log on from a friend's dorm room or a library. Professors might log on from their office or from a lecture room. With users so mobile, El-Haggan's IT organization had a hard time responding to network events.

Understanding how a network is performing is one thing, but understanding where users are and how they're affecting network performance was something his staff just didn't have the time to do manually. Finding the location of users who were experiencing or causing problems on the network could take hours as network administrators tried to map each event.

Learn more in "New monitoring technology helps university find mobile users." Also:

  • Wireless LAN planning guide, part 1
    Wireless networking will soon be an indispensable part of any IT arsenal. But before you implement it, you'll need a plan that covers security, staffing and management.
  • Wireless LAN planning guide, part 2
    With an improving wireless security landscape and new standards emerging, planning a wireless network isn't as complicated as it once was. Experts weigh in on the best practices.
  Mitigate mobile security threats
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Talk about mobile security around CIOs and IT managers, and three issues will consistently raise heads: network compromise, data loss and regulatory noncompliance. Mention mobile hardware and software's ability to exacerbate these risks, and watch the powder keg light.

According to the 2006 CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute and the San Francisco FBI Computer Intrusion Squad, financial losses related to laptops and mobile hardware ranked third among the costliest security snafus.

Losses from laptop or mobile hardware theft alone increased from $19,562 per respondent in 2005 to $30,057 per respondent in 2006, according to the CSI/FBI Survey.

Find out more in "Mitigate mobile security threats." Also:

  • Mobile devices: Corporate security strategies
    According to analysts, companies grappling with mobile/wireless security are expected to take a hit from improper use and mobile malware attacks resulting in real business interruption. Fortunately, most of these exploits will take advantage of vulnerabilities that are identifiable and resolvable. In this tip, examine business strategies for securing mobile wireless devices.
  • Mobile security starts with policy
    Mobile security can no longer be an afterthought. Mobile experts say security starts, but doesn't end, with policy.
  Wireless investments key to future success
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Wireless technologies continue to make inroads at midmarket companies and enterprises alike -- which probably doesn't surprise anyone, at this point. In fact, according to Cambridge, Mass.-based analyst firm Forrester Research Inc., roughly half of all companies have already made some type of investment in wireless technology.

Atlantic Aviation Services is one such company. The Plano, Texas-based aircraft and passenger services vendor began using wireless-enabled meters at two of its East Coast locations to track fuel inventories last year. The system has proved a success, and the company hopes to roll out wireless fuel tracking to all of its locations soon.

But Atlantic Aviation has no plans to provide universal wireless access to its 2,700 employees, at least not anytime soon, according to IT director Rob Davis. For Davis, who oversees the company's 17-person IT department, wireless LANs still don't measure up to wired networks in terms of stability, speed and bandwidth capabilities.

Learn more in "Wireless investments key to future success ." Also:

  • CIOs need to negotiate TLC into wireless contracts
    Mobile workers feel unappreciated by their carriers. CIOs can help.
  • Wi-Fi way to shrink digital divide, say big-city CIOs
    The CIOs of Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco talk about the goals of their high-profile municipal Wi-Fi projects and the challenges they faced along the way.
  More mobile resources for CIOs
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