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Integrating MDM into IT service management is key to operational efficiency in a mobile world

By Oleg Sin, product manager at SysAid Technologies, special to Network World
September 13, 2012 03:06 PM ET

Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

With the popularity of the bring-your-own-device movement, IT teams are turning to mobile device management (MDM) software to manage mobile policy, inventory and security. However, many MDM tools are stand-alone and do not easily integrate into the IT service management (ITSM) strategy, a disconnect that commonly results in inefficiencies and misunderstandings. For this reason, many enterprises are turning to integrated solutions.

To better illustrate the importance of integrating MDM and ITSM, let's take the example of an employee leaving a company. Until recently, the IT department simply closed the user account and collected the related IT equipment. This was a relatively straightforward task. However, with BYOD, it has become increasingly difficult because many employees have phones programmed to automatically connect to the office Wi-Fi, as well as to access internal, sensitive data.

ANALYSIS: How BYOD has changed the IT landscape

Enter integrated ITSM-MDM. A combined solution covers all of the bases by employing a smooth IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) process to handle all tasks associated with an employee departure, including returning equipment and managing installed software. The process also automatically includes access to an accurate configuration management database (CMDB) that contains all relevant information, including the employee-owned device.

By integrating MDM capabilities into your existing ITSM platform, you gain control over all of your assets -- from desktops to servers to mobile devices -- all from a single focal point, resulting in increased consistency and transparency throughout the organization.

Advanced ITSM products already have tight integration of asset and user management, including the relationships between entities. Therefore, the addition of MDM serves as the final link to incorporate mobile devices (both corporate and employee-owned) into asset management.

Going back to the example of an employee who leaves a company, by having all assets in the same place, IT can now trace the employee's devices and remove corporate settings such as Wi-Fi or a mailbox from any device associated with the user. Moreover, IT can accomplish this remotely, without involving the ex-employee.

Another common situation IT encounters is loss or theft of mobile devices. With the proper tools in place, a company need not worry about sensitive data falling into the wrong hands because IT can delete all the data as long as the device is connected to a mobile policy within MDM.

A fully integrated solution offers numerous benefits from the ITSM and MDM perspectives, as well as on a macro-business level.

The ITSM perspective: Combining MDM and ITSM enables a company to easily align its mobile security policies with the overall security approach and enforce an enterprisewide mobile device security protocol. More importantly, an integrated solution allows for complete control of devices, including the enforcement of passcodes, ability to remotely lock or wipe the device clean if it is lost or stolen, and the ability to set Wi-Fi and email configurations remotely.

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