As consumer technology becomes more and more powerful, the probability that people in your customers’ organisations will increasingly use their own smartphones, tablets and other devices in the course of their work becomes a certainty. This increased BYOD activity is compounded by a change in the way we do our jobs: work is no longer a place we go to, but an activity – one that is independent of location and technology. If you’ve ever checked work emails on your personal phone, or used Skype to speak to a colleague or customer from home, you’ll know that the boundaries are blurred.

What does this mean in numbers? Research1 conducted on behalf of Dell suggests that half of US workers use the same device for both work and personal activities and, if they work in an environment that encourages the use of consumerised devices, own on average three or more devices. The Forrester research suggests that, when it comes to smartphones, there is overwhelming use of employee-defined handsets; over three quarters of smartphones used for work are chosen by employees.

This all amounts to a good thing; we can work more flexibly, get things done faster and in a more efficient manner. But from an IT manager’s point of view, it can create some significant challenges. A plethora of devices, operating systems, profiles, networks and versions can all add to an IT department’s workload. The challenges are threefold: providing mobile data security, managing an increasingly complex environment and managing an ever-growing proliferation and range of devices. In summary, managing all devices (both employee and company-owned) in a manner that enables comprehensive, safe and secure BYOD activities within an organisation is not an insignificant task .

What’s needed is Mobile Device Management (MDM). MDM is a relatively new field, however the basic principles of systems management should already be in place. Customers can turn to Dell Partners for help in extending their existing client management tools to mobile devices - to successfully manage the risks and potential complications.

Dell Partners are particularly well positioned to help IT managers via the Dell KACE family of Systems Management Appliances. The K3000 Mobile Management Appliance allows IT to manage personal devices that hold corporate data – without infringing on the personal data that is stored there too. The K3000’s self-service functionality can help free IT departments from setup requests – and enable employees to get started quickly while adhering to company guidelines, all without having to raise a ticket. The self-service portal allows employees to download and install corporate applications themselves, manage device inventory and share best practice. This is particularly useful for tech-savvy users who are perfectly happy with a certain degree of autonomy – and who tend to be the early adopters and proponents of BYOD.

The real strength of the Dell KACE solution is in offering a single view of all devices – and a means of managing multiple configurations. Dell KACE also manages user profiles by function or location, remote device provisioning and distribution of applications and software, as well as protecting corporate data on iOS and Android devices. By simplifying the management of a wide range of different platforms and hardware profiles, as well as many different software and OS versions, Dell KACE allows organisations to reap the benefits of BYOD without the management overhead created by a constantly-changing pool of devices.

To find out more about Dell’s BYOD proposition – and how it can help your customers – read our White Paper on ‘Enabling Safe and Secure BYOD’ . More details on the KACE family of solutions can be found here. Finally, if you want see KACE in action join one of our regular online session – view a list of upcoming events.

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1 Forrester - Consumerization drives smartphone proliferation. 2/12/2011