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Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Sep 20 2011

More and more companies here in St. Louis and across the US are looking to consumerize their IT departments. Employees are “bringing their own device” to work and requesting their IT department to support email, VPN, calendars and contacts on their devices.  IT departments are hesitant to provide access to company resources without some sort of mobile security in case that device is lost or stolen.  This is where Mobile Device Management, or MDM can help.

With an MDM solution like Absolute Manage MDM, you can provide access to these company assets, but also have a way to locate that device if it’s lost or stolen, lock the device, or completely wipe it out if the device is not recoverable.  These MDM solutions provide a user accessible web site or portal where they simply type their name and password in, and their device is automatically setup for them. Settings can be anything from WiFi settings, email, calendars, to contacts and VPN.  MDM solutions are particularly good for companies that have high populations of iPhone and iPad users.

As for the securing the device, IT managers can enforce password policies, push internal apps to devices, recommend company approved apps, and disable apps like You Tube and Safari if deemed necessary.  With the users permission, you can also track where a device is on a map like those provided by Bing or Google.  IT managers can tie these policies to a users group or OU in their Active Directory.  In fact, IT managers can assign different policies to different groups of people. Absolute’s MDM ties right in with AD and provides an easy way to integrate a solution like this into existing IT infrastructure.

MDM solutions are a great way to consumerize an IT department and bring folks one step closer to a “bring your own device” environment. For more information, please contact Tim at 314-918-7600 or tim@compsolstl.com

Manage K-12 iPads Easily

Sep 13 2011

These days, many of our K-12 customers are either evaluating the iPad or have purchased iPads for their students to use.  Challenges arise when Directors of Technology are charged with the task of managing multiple iPads at the same time. What is the best policy for app deployment? How do you set restrictions? How do you distribute new applications? These are all important and valid questions for an K-12 IT administrator and I will try to address them here:

Q: What is the best policy for application deployment?

A: If you are a K-12 IT administrator and have more than 10 iPads, you need to sign up for Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP.)  Signing up for this program will first help you be compliant with Apple’s terms and conditions and secondly, allow you to purchase selected applications at a reduced cost.  The link to the  VPP site can be found here.

Q: How do you set restrictions?

A: If you have more than 30 iPads, it is a good idea to look at an Mobile Device Management solution like Absolute’s Absolute Mobile Device Manager (MDM.) This kind of software not only allows you to setup group policies for iPads based on the user’s status in Active Directory, but it also allows you to dynamically change those settings on the fly.  Want to disable You Tube on 300 iPads instantly, all at once?  No problem! Did you change your WiFi SSID and password, and need to change it on 300 iPads?  No problem!  Absolute’s MDM solution has you covered.

Q: What is the most effective way to distribute new applications?

A: The best way to distribute applications really depends on how many iPads you are managing. If you are managing 30 or less, a charge and sync station or cart is a great way to sync multiple iPads at the same time. Carts like those made by DS Datamation are superb for a school.  If you are managing more than 30 iPads, it’s best to look at a solution like Absolute’s MDM software.  Although no solution can “push” apps to an iPad over the air, Absolute’s MDM solution allows you to purchase apps from the volume purchase store at Apple, insert the codes, and create a one-touch link on everyone’s iPad to download that app.

Managing iPads doesn’t have to be difficult.  There are some great tools and devices available that can make managing iPads a snap.