Employee-Liable Smartphones on Corporate Networks: Five Tips to Boost Admin Control

If 2009 was the Year of the Smartphone, 2010 is destined to be the Year IT Grapples With Managing All Those Smartphones.

Properly keeping track of and securing employees' personal devices, or "personal-liable" devices, on a corporate network is sure to be atop the list of mobile administrators' challenges in the coming year, as more and more staffers file help-desk tickets to have their new iPhones, Droids, or Nexus One handsets linked up to enterprise systems. What's worse, the technically savvy users in the bunch may link up their devices without your consent--or even knowledge--according to mobile-device-management software company Zenprise.

Creating, instituting, and upholding a plan to keep tabs on which devices are connected to what network resources and when constitute crucial steps in creating an effective mobility strategy. On that note, Ahmed Datoo, Zenprise VP of marketing, sent along the following five tips to help mobile administrators get a better handle on which devices can and/or do access your corporate resources.

I've summed up Datoo's points briefly, and then posted the full text of his suggestions below. Naturally, most of the advice Datoo offers relates to the company's own Zenprise MobileManager product, but other firms such as BoxTone also offer comparable products that serve many of the same purposes. Smart mobile administrators will want to investigate the wide range of mobile management products on the market today to see which offerings best fits their own organizations' specific needs.

Five Tips From Zenprise for Securing Personal-Liable Mobile Devices on Corporate Networks

1. Create a formal corporate policy that specifies staffers must check in with IT and get approval before connecting a personal mobile device to the corporate network.

2. Employ a product that lets you see which devices are connected to your corporate network, when they are connected, and to whom they belong.

3. Devise a set of security policies attached to your Microsoft Exchange Server, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), etc., to ensure that any and all devices connected to your corporate network meet a predefined set of security standards.

4. Give your users some sort of self-service option that lets them quickly and remotely wipe their devices if they lose or misplace handhelds.

5. Employ a product that lets mobile administrators randomly "audit" users' devices for potentially problematic applications, to help identify unknown and potentially harmful third-party software.

Keep reading for the full text of Datoo's five tips, along with further explanation of each.

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