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June 13, 2013

SMBs going mobile faster than enterprises, but not doing right


If you’re not already playing around in one of the coolest social networks for techies, then you need to check out Spiceworks, a reddit-like website that also integrates its free monitoring software with your environment. The site recently published a report based on a survey of over 1,000 Spiceworks users (the community adds up to over 2.5 million) that asked questions about how IT pros were adopting BYOD and implementing mobile device management (MDM). Titled, “As BYOD Becomes Mainstream, Complexity Intensifies,” the report also analyzed the outlook for BYOD in the near future.

The results show that SMBs hands-down have more success implementing BYOD solutions, but that isn’t too surprising given the variables that personal devices inject into an organization’s systems, especially if it has thousands of employees in an enterprise environment. However, of those SMBs adopting BYOD, most of them are ignoring MDM best practices, citing cost and undefined risks as deterrents.

So do these numbers tell the full story for SMB IT?

Taking over the workplace

BYOD is taking over whether you like it or not:

  • Companies with less than 20 employees are leading the charge, with 69 percent of smaller SMBs surveyed saying they already support BYOD. This beats larger businesses (over 250 employees) by a 16 percent margin.
  • BYOD standards vary a lot, but developing your own policies is the best option. The survey respondents listed a range of deciding factors regarding MDM solutions, from security to OS support and everything in between.
  • Almost 60 percent of SMB IT pros said they support BYOD policies. Breaking down that group further, 54 percent offer support for smartphones and 42 percent for tablets. The report concludes by warning, “BYOD is becoming an unstoppable force. SMBs have some tough decisions to make on how to handle this new tech frontier.”

Companies big and small are ignoring MDM

  • Overall, about 46 percent of respondents have no desire at all for MDM.
  • A total of only 17 percent have implemented MDM, while 20 percent are putting plans together for the next 6 months.
  • Bigger organizations better understand the value of sound MDM. When asked if they have an MDM solution, about 46 percent said they already do or are planning to have one.This is a big contrast to most SMBs, who have no plans for MDM in place.

Why do we ignore MDM? We’re ignorant.

The survey says the main reason organizations are not implementing MDM is because they don’t see a true threat, although 47 percent of respondents said lost/stolen devices are the biggest security risk, followed by employee misuse. Clearly there is a disconnect between what users are doing with mobile devices, and IT decision-makers’ perceptions.

It seems that the users taking advantage of BYOD are also cited as the main concern for IT departments not implementing BYOD/MDM.

What’s the real IT pro perspective?

How does your IT department feel about managing and supporting BYOD? According to the worldwide survey, 17 percent fully embrace, 27 percent haven’t formed an opinion yet, 17 percent fully embrace this trend, and 23 percent say it works well for some devices. There is a good amount of confusion and differing methodologies when it comes to MDM, so we want to poll our readers to round out the BYOD picture a bit more. Tell us what you see or are concerned about at your organization.

Many of the concerns cited in the Spiceworks survey include confusion over the right solutions, the threats that affect each business uniquely, how workforce size affects these solutions, etc. One thing IT pros can do if they’re facing the challenges of BYOD is educate themselves. Spiceworks even has a free MDM guide to get you started.

Getting educated about mobility and BYOD isn’t just beneficial to your work’s MDM strategy, but having specialized mobile/wireless skills will prove to be valuable while IT makes the transition as an industry—and beyond.

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About the Author

is a web editor for TrainSignal curating breaking IT news and serving up the latest free videos and tutorials on the blog. He’s an unashamed music junkie and if a coffee I.V. is ever invented, it’s probably safer that you don’t let him find out. Follow @thechriscore for cool news and stories, and happenings at TrainSignal HQ.

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