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Managed Service Providers: Choosing the Right Types of Mobile Devices

29 Sep 2016 by Isabel Ticlo

There’s no denying the progress that technology has made throughout the ages.

In 1703 Gottfried Leibniz pioneered the binary number system that is used in virtually all computers.

During the 1830s – 1840s, Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke, from England, and Samuel Morse, from the United States, teamed up to develop the electric telegraph — a predecessor to the modern day telephone. Around that same era, Alexander Bain from Scotland used chemical technology to create the world’s first primitive fax machine.

Fast forward to 1973 and we have the first handheld cellphone created by Martin Cooper. From then on, it was a landslide of inventions and innovations including home computers, personal computers, wireless internet and touchscreen cellphones.

Each discovery has contributed to the technology-based world we live in today – a world where there are countless variations of devices and tools. So how do you choose the right devices to power scalability as a mobile service provider?

Mobile device management solutions on the rise

First, as a service provider entering the device, applications and services platform, you need to understand the current and future landscape of the growing mobile device market. In 2015, more than half a billion (563 million) mobile devices were introduced worldwide, forecasted to reach at least 5.5 billion users by 2020. In the United States alone, the trend for smartphones is increasing exponentially by the millions.

Number of smartphone social network users in the U.S. 2011-2017 chart

What does this mean for businesses? Within the last couple of years, affordable and accessible technology developments have led to the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) movement. With this practice, employees have become more reliant on their personal, mobile phones, tablets and laptops to conduct professional activity. When used properly, all types of mobile devices can easily become the key to greater productivity, flexibility and efficiency in the workplace.

In the past, mobile service providers used to try and accommodate all types of mobile devices, supplying end-solutions for every customers’ preferred platforms. By trying to conquer all of the choices, they wore themselves thin. For a different approach, consider choosing devices that can support, and be supported by, leading brands. In order to achieve greater reach within the mobile device market, without sacrificing time and effort, strictly target market leaders and capitalize on their success. For example, take a look at the market share that’s held by technology giants Apple® and Android®.

Global market share held by smartphone operating systems from 2009 - 2015 chart

Cutting down the choices

Next, once you understand the market and have a clear idea of how to focus on market leaders to drive mobile device management, you can start looking at devices that will support security and efficiency within your organization.

When deciding on these technologies, you are more likely to profit when you objectively asses the business impact, features and lifespan of each device in question. Devices are better suited for the mobile market when they provide secure and reliable connections, a long battery life, are lightweight, compact and universal.

It’s also important to include a diverse and cross-functional group of people from IT, marketing, sales and human resources to provide input. This way, you can narrow down the choices to those that support the operating systems strategically important for developing business goals.

Basic mobile device management capabilities

According to TechTarget, every product under consideration should offer mobile device management solutions in addition to common IT tasks and features such as:

  • Inventory management for device enrollment and asset tracking
  • Device policy management to enforce IT-defined policies
  • Monitoring and reporting visibility for real-time notifications
  • Security management to detect compromises

Beware the phisher-men

Of course, increased use of different types of mobile devices means that there are more end-points vulnerable to rising cyberthreats. Unfortunately, it takes more than a simple firewall to secure complete data protection. The FBI reported that in 2015, more than 7,000 U.S. companies fell victim to phishing attacks.

As a mobile service provider, you are not only responsible for ensuring your own information is secure, but protecting your customers’ sensitive data as well. Small businesses outsource to service providers to help mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack. Therefore, invest in devices that offer complete visibility, threat detection, encryption and back-up options so that you can become your customers’ best disaster recovery solution.

The devices that you choose to integrate into the workplace need features that fully support your goals for improved mobility, efficiency and security. At the end of the day, you want to focus on tools that add value to your business and help clients boost performance. When it comes to the mobile market and strategically building your portfolio, are you choosing the right devices?