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Thinking About a Mobile Printing Solution? What to do Before You Buy

Posted on Thu, May 15, 2014

For many IT managers, BYOD (bring your own device) model can devolve into a chaotic DYOT (do your own thing) model, where users actively circumvent IT policies and apps in favor of unmanaged consumer apps, unmanaged personal cloud storage, or even devices that are encrypted to block company oversight and reporting. What could cause that nightmarish scenario?

Analysts at Quocirca, a European firm that tracks IT deployment in Great Britain and the European Union, say that the widening gap between end user expectations and corporate policy has created a situation where some end users believe that they must protect themselves from policies that could result in a loss of personal freedom, or even personal data. 

Articles like this one in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “Leaving a Job? Better Watch Your Cellphone” don’t help. Employees who purchased their own devices expect to be able to use those devices at work to help them get their jobs done, and they also expect to be able to use them for entertainment, personal communications, and private tasks they don’t want their employer to be able to access.

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What Price for Mobile Freedom?

But what price should employers be willing to pay for the mobile freedom that employees want? Obviously, securing corporate data is a must – now more than ever, companies can’t afford  security breaches, which can violate many of the rules and regulations protecting customer data. Cost management is another area where employee expectations and company policy can create problems.

Jared Hansen, CEO of Breezy, says that mobile printing from an iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone is one area where individuals and company policy often come into conflict. “eWeek columnist Wayne Rash wrote an excellent analysis on some of the reasons that tablet users aren’t upgrading their devices as often as analysts predicted,” Hansen says. “Rash writes that a lack of mobile printing and other built-in limitations in these consumer-oriented devices have made users less willing to pay for upgrades, because the newer models still haven’t solved the problems that limited their usefulness in the business world.”

Quocirca Research says that 70% of organizations have experienced one or more accidental data breaches through printing.  “Unsecured mobile printing can result in confidential information being left in output trays where it is exposed to prying eyes, or subject to a man-in-the-middle attack by hackers,” the company wrote in a report titled Taming the
Mobile Tiger.

So what’s an IT manager or CIO to do? Plan ahead, so that the policies, procedures, and tools the company uses to manage mobile devices that access corporate data are balanced between the company’s need for security, oversight and control and the employee’s personal data and out-of-work activities.

No matter how large or small a company is, Hansen says that one of the best ways to avoid BYOD problems is to take a close look at how employees use mobile devices in your workplace. “You can do this as a pre-survey, before you buy a mobile device management, secure mobile printing, or mobile application management solution – or you can do it as a regular user audit to make sure that your tools are keeping pace with changes in the way your employees are using mobile devices,” he says. “Either way, it’s a great way to head off trouble, because it ensures that your policies and tools are in line with employee needs and expectations.”

(Next week, this blog will publish the second part of this two-part series on preparing for a secure mobile printing solution. Using Pre-Surveys and User Audits to Avoid Problems.)

For more information about integrating secure mobile printing into your IT plan, download a datasheet on Breezy for Enterprise or download a copy of The Definitive Guide to Mobile  Printing, a free ebook from Breezy.

 

Photo credit: German photography company SpareBank offered this photo of a banker with his iPad on Flickr under a Creative Commons License

Tags: secure mobile printing, IT, mobile device management, enterprise mobility, BYOD Printing

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