Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog

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I meet with customers multiple times per week, and, in these meetings, I’ve answered just about every type of question imaginable.  Most of the questions are brilliant, some are a little odd, and several are pretty common and come up regularly.

One of the 2 or 3 most common questions I get has to do with what an organization needs to do to make their business processes more mobile, as well as how they can empower their users while still protecting company data (more on this in the video below).  Every organization and every industry is being transformed by the well-established trend towards Cloud and Mobility.

Just about every one of these customer conversations eventually comes back to Microsoft Office and the Office mobile apps.   Consider this question I often ask in return:  How much of your organization’s day-to-day work relies on Microsoft Office?  I’m willing to bet your accounting and financial department has Excel open all day everyday (and the IT department has it open to keep track of who has been assigned each IP address!).  I’m guessing your execs are regularly reviewing and presenting with PowerPoint.  And, in most cases, every person in the org uses Outlook.  In these customer meetings I often ask them what percentage of the docs that are shared/used within the organization are Office docs?  The answer is consistently between 75% and 95%.

If any of this sounds familiar, then your organization is already prepared to become more mobile.  At Microsoft, we sit in a unique position to take the infrastructure you’re already using and make it more secure and more mobile right now.

This process is something that any organization can undertake, and we have worked exhaustively to make Microsoft the single best option for this exciting transition.  The reason behind this confidence is simple:  When it comes to enabling Office on all the devices in your organization and managing and securing all of these identities and data with EMS – no one can manage and secure this better than Microsoft.

“The combination of cloud and mobility can serve as an especially effective lever in achieving this goal, allowing for greater employee productivity and responsiveness to customer requirements.”

IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Microsoft, “Securing Productivity in the Borderless Enterprise,” 2015

There is no shortage of narrow point solutions that can provide bits and pieces of the overarching solution you need – but modern IT departments face enough day-to-day challenges without having to constantly fine tune and integrate a bunch of different products.  To show you what this looks like in real life, check out this quick segment of my new EMS training video.

With Microsoft you are better equipped to go mobile, stay mobile, and protect your data.

To put mobility and management in perspective, you can do some simple math to see that only a small percentage of the worlds devices are being managed today – even when you include the work being done every EMM vendor:

  • The number of devices around the world reaches well into the billions.
  • The number of EMM licenses is slightly over 100 million.
  • The number of activated licenses is (optimistically) in the 10’s of millions.

The number of unmanaged, data-leaking, perimeter-intrusion-waiting-to-happen devices is staggering.  How did we get here?  Part of the problem is the traditional inability of the solutions built by EMM vendors to be scaled without their customers adding costly infrastructure upgrades.  I had a customer tell me last week that they have to add a new server every time they add 800 users to their EEM solution.  That is not a sustainable plan – and it’s not much of a solution.  Another major culprit is the common practice of approaching the future of IT with all the same tactics used in the past.  Right now, end-users are resistant to having their personal devices managed because they are (understandably) concerned about IT taking control of their personal devices.  The real problem is that the knockoff productivity apps (the ones mimicking the Microsoft Office apps) provided by the various EMM vendors are not great.  These knockoff apps don’t do enough to protect corporate data, and the user experience doesn’t empower the end users.

Compounding these problems is how quickly and easily EMM vendors come and go.  When you’re planning your work with an EMM vendor, you have to ask yourself if that company will even exist in 12, 18, or 24 months.  Some of them wont, so, depending upon your deployment plan, your vendor might not even exist by the time you’re fully deployed!  This means you have to ask yourself if you’re going to get your ROI in two years or less.  You also have to ask if your on-prem investments are going to work with the cloud-based assets you’ll be incorporating.  And you also have to look at whether or not these new solutions are really built as services from the cloud so that they can scale.

More often than not, your answers will be no, no, and absolutely not.

It’s a pretty big mess.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Instead, ask the type of productive questions that will put your organization on a proactive footing:  Identify the challenges you’re facing, and then demand your vendor provide fully integrated solutions.  In this series, I want to show you 6 really problematic challenges – and how we’ve worked to solve them.

Some of the questions you should keep in mind during this series include:

  • What productivity apps do you currently use (or plan to use)?
  • Do you plan to use inbox or app-based email?
  • Where do you know/think your employees store your corporate data?
  • What types of devices do you need/plan to support?
  • Who’s going to own the devices you manage? Will personal and corporate devices be managed the same way?
  • Do your employees use different passwords to access different apps? Do you manage those passwords?

A lot of vendors can’t answer these questions.  A lot of others will prevaricate.  But your organization deserves concrete answers.

“It is crucial for potential buyers to understand how an EMM solution supports the tenuous balance between risk mitigation and end-user productivity.”

IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Microsoft, “Securing Productivity in the Borderless Enterprise,” 2015

In this series, I want to challenge a lot of the traditional ways of thinking about management and security – and I want you to see how to do some genuinely (for real!) heroic things in your organization.

By the end of this series you’ll see how you can use EMS and Office 365 to protect your e-mail in a way that’s so deeply integrated that no other solution will seem practical. To help you make the case for what’s next, we’ve also worked with IDC on a Technology Spotlight that examines the critical role played by EMM technology in managing the security challenges posed by the combination of mobile devices + cloud-based SaaS apps (like Box or Office 365). You can access the IDC Technology Spotlight: Securing Productivity in the Borderless Enterprise, exclusively, right here.

You can find every post in this series here.

To get started, here’s Simon May and I introducing this series and demystifying some of the perceived barriers to mobility.  For any IT Pro, embracing mobility means better job performance, a lot more job efficiency, and long-term job security.

Let’s do this together.
 

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