Mobile Device Management: 15 Things to Know About Keeping Company Phones and Tablets Secure
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Richard Kohberger is an operations manager at Comfort Control, Inc., in Buford, Ga., but perhaps better known in the trades as YouTube’s Blue Collar Nerd.
Kohberger joined ServiceTitan recently for a webinar on shielding your company phones and tablets from becoming a technician’s entertainment center through the use of mobile device management (MDM) software.
Kohberger, through his YouTube channel, feeds two obsessions. One is making technology work for the trade industries to increase efficiency and profit. The other is ServiceTitan, the all-in-one software solution for the trades that his company has used since 2015.
That tech nerdiness makes Kohberger perfect to help those in the trades understand and solve the tech problems they face.
“Technology is becoming an integral part of our industry now,” Kohberger said during the webinar, “and that comes with a whole lot of upsides. You get things like ServiceTitan, where we can dig into all of our data in amazing ways and improve our client experience. All that stuff is super cool.
“But technology also introduces new things to manage.”
Here are 15 important things Kohberger said about using mobile device management technology to better safeguard your company’s mobile phones and tablets:
MDM is worth the effort:
Setting up an MDM is not easy, but it is worth the trouble. There are different methods depending on whether the device is new or existing, and whether it is an Apple device or an Android. Here’s a cheat sheet with details.
Devices walking away with technicians who leave the company can be a problem. Businesses lose money to employee theft every year, but MDMs keep technicians from “owning” the company’s device because its usefulness stays in the control of the business. Without an MDM, “it’s as if the technician owns the device in all practical ways,” Kohberger said.
Control your data usage:
MDM software gives companies control over data usage that isn’t business related. With an MDM, you can limit access to just about anything. Great things to limit are things like Netflix and the ability to launch a personal hotspot. “A lot of technicians like, in their downtime, to chill in the gas station parking lot and get some Netflix going,” Kohberger says. “That can eat away at your data plan if you don’t have an unlimited plan. It’s best to just limit that stuff.”
Control from the start:
New devices bought through a company Apple Store account can be completely controlled through the MDM right out of the box. Previously purchased devices require a different process and won’t provide all the protections. (And a tech-savvy employee can turn off an MDM program not set up when the device is new, but you’ll get a notification.)
Don’t share iCloud:
You can't solve this problem with a shared iCloud account. In fact, you’re just asking for trouble if you try because iCloud accounts are for individuals to share photos, account logins and other data across devices. That can be bad in a work setting. MDMs are for groups. Using a shared iCloud account instead of an MDM is “the chaos method,” Kohberger said.
What MDMs don’t do:
MDMs don’t allow you to see private emails, text messages or browsing history. And that’s a good thing. “Let’s say you let somebody go, and they claim you let them go because you saw a confidential medical email and you were worried about downtime and strain on the insurance plan,” Kohberger said. “That’s not going to happen because you have no access to that sort of stuff.”
Lost device? Your MDM can help.
It can help you locate the lost device, but only if it’s turned on. If the device can’t be located, MDM software allows the device to be put into “lost mode” remotely, protecting sensitive customer data and locking out those who shouldn’t have access to the device. You can even set the lock screen to display an “if found” question with your company address or phone number. “You have a better chance of finding it, one, and if you don’t find it you can sleep at night knowing no one is going to be pulling data out of it,” Kohberger says.
A consistent design.
The look of the device, from home screen picture to placement of apps, is consistent. That controls what your technicians and salespeople show customers. “You’re making sure everything is presented the way you want your company to be represented,” Kohberger said.
Can’t remember passcodes for the lockscreen on all your Apple devices? An MDM allows you to use one passcode across all devices. That eliminates the need for your company to keep up with passcodes.
Eliminate “stupid” scheduling questions and on-call confusion forever. By linking the on-call calendar into the default calendar app on the device through the MDM, you get rid of ambiguity. “Raise your hand,” Kohberger asked, “if you’ve ever had a technician say they didn’t know they were on call. (With an MDM), if they say they didn’t know, you can say, ‘well, it’s on your calendar app.’”
Uninstall and reinstall can be done remotely through the MDM. That’s helpful if a tech has a problem with an app in the field.
Always remember wifi passwords:
Office wifi passwords can be built into the device. That allows automatic sign in at the office but keeps personal devices off the company wifi (if that’s what you want to do).
MDM software is affordable:
The cost of an MDM program is not exorbitant. At an approximate range of $2 to $4 per year per device, the benefit outweighs the cost. “I don’t remember being sticker-shocked,” Kohberger said. “I don’t remember saying, ‘that’s a lot of money.’”
You can reach out to Apple Support (or Blue Collar Nerd on Facebook!) for help.
MBM for Android:
The process for Android devices is different. But MDMs are available for Androids too.
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ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.