Enterprise Management of Mobile Devices: Provisioning
An essential portion of enterprise management of mobile devices is provisioning. Provisioning devices involves delivering configuration data and policy settings to the mobile devices.
The leader in this space is clearly Research In Motion, with its BlackBerry Enterprise Server that, with a few mouse movements, can remotely configure these devices.
Other device and OS vendors are catching up to this crucial enterprise requirement. For instance, Apple’s configuration and security settings can be deployed wirelessly through a user self-enrollment portal. While not as transparent to your user community as the BlackBerry solution, it does provide similar levels of granular configuration and policy deployment to iPhones and iPads.
Note that provisioning may be a one-time activity, but keeping up with OS upgrades, security patches, and so on is always going to be needed on an ongoing basis. The good news is that with employee-owned devices, the upgrade itself is the onus of the employees, and the device and OS manufacturers have done a pretty good job at making this as painless as possible.
But you need to be prepared for users still fighting these upgrades. You must be able to modify your policies to allow or disallow access to the enterprise, taking into consideration the revision level of the operating system and applications so that your risk level isn’t increased due to nonconforming devices coming into the network.