Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

Ten Commandments for Developing a Mobile Strategy

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by jiml | No Comments

Over the past few months, Colden Company has held a couple of mobility seminars to help businesses avoid the mistakes that many businesses make when deploying mobile technology. In this blog posting, we will be highlighting our Ten Commandments for developing a successful mobility strategy for your business.

Ten Commandments of Mobile Computing

Ten Commandments for Developing a Mobile Strategy

1. Start with a business problem.

Do not start your mobility strategy with “I want to use my iPad for work”. Identify areas of your business that can benefit from a mobile solution and spend the time to analyze the cost/benefit. Have the business problem you are solving well defined before moving ahead.

2. Create your policy before procuring technology.

To effectively leverage mobile device management (MDM) technology particularly for employee owned devices, you still need to decide on policies. These policies affect more than just IT; they have implications for HR, legal, and security—any part of the business that uses mobile devices in the name of productivity. Since all lines of business are affected by BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, it can’t be created in an IT vacuum. With the diverse needs of users, IT must ensure they are all part of policy creation. Some questions to consider…

• Devices: What mobile devices will be supported? Only certain devices or whatever the employee wants? According to Forrester, 70% of smartphones belong to users, 12% are chosen from an approved list, and 16% are corporate-issued. Some 65% of tablets belong to users, 15% are chosen from a list, and 16% are corporate issued. In other words, users in most cases bring their own devices.
• Data Plans: Will the organization pay for the data plan at all? Will you issue a stipend, or will the employee submit expense reports? Who pays for these devices? For smartphones, 70% paid the full price, 12% got a discount, 3% paid a partial amount, and in 15% of cases, the company covered the full price. With tablets, 58% bought their own, 17% got a corporate discount, 7% shared the cost, and 18% were issued and paid for by their companies. (Source: Forrester, 2011)
• Compliance: What regulations govern the data your organization needs to protect? For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require native / encryption on any device that holds data subject to the act.
• Security: What security measures are needed (passcode protection, jailbroken/rooted devices, anti-malware apps, encryption, device restrictions, iCloud backup)?
• Applications: What apps are forbidden? IP scanning, data sharing, Dropbox?
• Agreements: Is there an Acceptable Usage Agreement (AUA) for employee devices with corporate data?
• Services: What kinds of resources can employees access—email? Certain wireless networks or VPNs? CRM?
• Privacy: What data is collected from employees’ devices? What personal data is never collected?

No questions are off limits when it comes to BYOD. There must be frank and honest dialog about how devices will be used and how IT can realistically meet those needs.

3. Never put sensitive business data on a mobile device that you don’t manage.

Once data is moved from your corporate network to a mobile device that is not corporately managed, you lose control over that what happens to that data. Make sure you have a policy and security measures in place that dictate sensitive data never ends up unmanaged. Unmanaged data leads to security breaches.

4. Hold personal data sacred.

Some mobile device management (MDM) solutions have features to wipe a lost or stolen mobile device. If your company allows BYOD your business needs to make sure you understand your legal limitations. Businesses cannot wipe employees’ personal data off their phones. Employee’s personal data belongs to the employee in a BYOD situation.

5. Keep personal and business data separate.

Choose an MDM solution that can containerize your business data. That way, when the time comes to wipe your business data from a BYOD phone, your business can do that and not affect the employees’ personal data.

6. Pilot a mobile solution before deployment.

Mobile solutions have more variables that a traditional PC solution.
• What is the mobile user experience like?
• What is the impact on battery life for mobile devices that are already power-constrained?
• What is the security impact of the solution?
• Does the solution truly allow employees to be mobile, or is the solution more of a stop-gap solution that still requires access to the office or a PC? In other words, can your employee be fully mobile – are all necessary features present?
• What platform(s) does the solution run on?
• How are you going to manage that platform?
• What is data usage like? Will the solution send your carrier data bill through the roof?

7. Regulations matter!

Does your business work in an industry that has regulatory concerns? Make sure you are fully aware of your obligations before going forward with your mobile strategy.

8. Have a support plan in place for your mobile users.

Think BYOD means businesses no longer have to provide tech support to employees who use their own devices? Once you bring mobile devices into your business network, employees will expect support – BYOD or COD. In fact, you will probably have more mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.) that you expect once you open the flood gates. Know what you’re going to support, define what you’ll support, or be ready for anything.

9. Make employees accountable.

Have employees review the BYOD policy and require a signature as acknowledgement of the rules and their required compliance to participate in the program. Training sessions may also be necessary to help employees understand their obligations under the acceptable use policy. Make sure employees know who to contact with support needs and questions.

10. Gain the expertise before making decisions or partner with an expert.

Building a successful mobility strategy takes time, effort and expertise. If you do not have the time or expertise, consider partnering with an expert who can make sure your mobility strategy is a success. Mobile technology is only going to increase in the future. Create a good mobility strategy now and reap the benefits later!

Does your business have a proper mobile strategy? Call us at (888) 600-4560, email us, or see us on Facebook or Twitter and let our experts help your business create a solid foundation for your mobile technology.







Tablets and Your Business

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by billp | No Comments

Since the iPad was first introduced in 2010, we’ve witnessed explosive growth in the market for the first truly new piece of personal technology since the PC: the tablet computer. The industry has even coined the term “Post-PC Era” to note the decline in sales of traditional PCs in favor of new devices such as tablets and, to a lesser degree, smartphones and phablets. Dozens of manufacturers make dozens of sizes and shapes of tablets, but they all share the same common ground: they are touchscreen slates that don’t need a keyboard and mouse.

tabletsevolution

According to an IC Insights report, total shipments of personal computing systems (desktops, notebooks, tablets, and Internet/cloud units) are forecast to rise 12% in 2014 to 585 million units compared to 521 million in 2013. However, the market for standard PCs (desktops, notebooks) continues to be sluggish in 2014, causing IC Insights to forecast a 5% decline for these systems to 298 million this year. The gap is made up of Post-PC Era devices such as tablets, and the growth in tablets only increases as IC Insights forecasts out to 2017.

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With the market for tablets and similar devices growing so aggressively, and software developers and accessory manufacturers coming up with increasingly creative ways to take advantage of the platform, we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with tablets. Where tablets were once seen as “consumption devices” (i.e. used to watch video, read books, play games, etc. – consume content), we have reaches a point where tablets have very real and measurable business benefits.

As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, a recent survey of 100 CIOs in the U.S. and Europe by Barclays PLC shows increased support for tablets, which in many cases are moving from limited trial rollouts to broader deployments. 97% of the respondents said they are interested in or are already supporting the use of tablets in the enterprise, either through BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or COD (Company-Owned Device) initiatives. The survey found that PCs remain the lowest-rated spending priority among CIOs and tablet deployment was “key” within their organizations.

The Barclays survey also noted that Apple, with iOS and its iPad line, was clearly the preferred vendor among those surveyed, with Microsoft and its venerable Windows next, beating out Google’s Android.

Apple iOS

Apple, with its iPad Air and iPad Mini product lines, are synonymous with tablets in the minds of many consumers. Apple was first to market with a truly innovative tablet design, and their early lead has given them the attention of consumers, business leaders, and software developers.

Apple has their eye on the business market to further strengthen their market position. We’ve written in the past about the use of an iPad for business, but the landscape – both in terms of hardware and apps, has changed much since we first wrote about the topic in late 2011. Apple’s recently-released iOS 8 operating system has in increased focus on the enterprise, with notable business-oriented features such as expanded data encryption, email encryption options, data management and content filtering, and new device management capabilities. Lesser-known business-oriented services offered by Apple include Volume Purchase Program (VPP), allowing businesses to buy and deploy apps, and the Device Enrollment Program (DEP), allowing businesses to pre-enroll devices with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions at the time of purchase.

Apple is also capturing the attention of other key players in the technology industry. In July 2014, Apple announced that it would partner with IBM to develop business applications specifically for iPhones and iPads, and IBM also said it would sell Apple products with those built-in apps to clients around the globe.

Google Android

While Apple’s iOS devices may have the mind-share of the world, Google’s Android operating system has the largest market share by a large margin. Android, unlike iOS, is licensed to third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and many others who release their own devices in many shapes and sizes – and not only smartphones and tablets. Android powers wearables, TVs, and cars. Google’s recently launched Android One initiative promises to enable access to quality Android devices in emerging markets, opening up Android to potentially millions of new customers. With more market share comes more developers of apps, services, and accessories, and Google is playing the long-game with Android, making it the dominant operating system to make sure it gets the most attention.

Google (through partnerships), Samsung, and LG all make high-quality Android tablets. Each manufacturer puts their unique stamp on their tablet devices since the market for Android devices is more open than Apple and iOS. The Nexus 7, manufactured for Google by Asus, is a very popular low-cost 7” tablet running “pure Android” (i.e. no manufacturer customizations). Moving to a higher screen size, Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab S with a stunning 8.4” display and some Samsung-specific innovations in Android. If you’re really looking for a large screen, Samsung offers the Galaxy Note Pro with a massive 12.2” display and stylus for pen-based input.

Like Apple, Google is very focused on the business market. Google’s upcoming next release of Android, currently named “Android L” (Android releases have all been named after desserts or sweets, and the “L” name hasn’t been decided on yet) has a focus on business-oriented features, collectively dubbed “Android for Work.” Android devices will have the ability to partition personal data from work data, making it easier for businesses to monitor apps and data being used for work-related purposes and control what happens to that data. This is particularly valuable to businesses that have embraced BYOD, because now there can be an area for personal information and a completely separate, controlled, and managed area for business data on the same device. Android L will also have full-device encryption enabled by default, keeping both business and personal data safe.

Microsoft Windows

While Microsoft is currently a lesser player in the explosive mobile market, they are actually one of the earliest players in the tablet market. Starting with Windows for Pen Computing for Windows 3.1 in 1991, Microsoft has been a proponent of tablet and pen-based computing for decades. Starting with Windows XP, Microsoft adopted the Microsoft Tablet PC name. Tablet support was added to both Home and Business versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Following Tablet PC, Microsoft announced the Ultra-mobile PC initiative in 2006 which brought Windows tablets to a smaller, touch-centric form factor.

Windows 8, which we have written about in detail, marked a major change in Microsoft’s approach to Windows and tablet computing. Windows 8 was the first major – and very ambitious – change to the Windows user interface (UI) since Windows 95 almost two decades earlier and was met with mixed reviews because it significantly changed the way we interact with our PCs. Traditional PC users complained – quite vocally – that Microsoft was forcing a mobile-first experience that they did not want and disrupting their ability to use their PCs. However, one thing was and is sure – Microsoft is fully committed to merging mobile and traditional PC computing, and Windows 8 was the first leap forward in that revolution.

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is here to stay in one form or another. Microsoft’s next release of Windows, codenamed “Threshold,” and assumed to be Windows 9, is targeting at calming the problems introduced by Windows 8 in businesses, notably training costs by forcing a completely different interface on users (hint – the Start menu is coming back). Microsoft’s next version of its venerable Office suite, codenamed “Gemini,” is widely-rumored to be touch-first, making it much easier to use than traditional Office on a tablet.

While Microsoft is refining its approach to mobile, one thing is clear – the easiest integration of tablets into the business is through tablets based on Windows 8.1 Pro (not Windows RT, which is incompatible with standard PC software). Tablets based on Windows 8.1 Pro integrate into your business just as a desktop or notebook would, using the same software, same management tools, same security, etc. For all intents and purposes, they are PCs in a different size and shape. Many Windows tablets also help to bridge the notebook/tablet gap with familiar form factors that blend two designs, such at the Microsoft Suface Pro 3 and Dell Venue 11 Pro.

For more about the laptop versus tablet discussion, read our recent blog post on the topic.

Now that you know who the key market players are, the real question for your business is what do you want to do with your tablets?  Picking a mobile operating system or tablet before you know what you want to do with it is a recipe for project failure. Carefully think about the following questions as you think about your tablet goals.

  1. Do you want to access files from your office file server from your tablet?
  2. Do you want to access your office PC from your tablet (e.g. remote desktop)?
  3. Do you want to be able to print from your tablet to your office printers?
  4. Do you want to access your entire office network (servers, PCs, printers, etc.) from your tablet over a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
  5. Do you need access to specific line-of-business apps on your tablet?
  6. Will the tablet be owned and managed by the business (i.e. company-owned device)?
  7. If you decide to allow BYOD, what will happen to your business data if the employee no longer works for you?
  8. If a tablet is lost or stolen with your business data on it, what will you do?

The answers to these questions – and many others – will guide your decision about which mobile operating system and apps you need to succeed. We suggest starting with a pilot program (one or two devices) before embarking on any large-scale mobile deployment. This will prove the concept and work out any problems before you deploy on a larger scale.

Mobile projects can be complex, but can also have measurable ROI in terms of employee productivity, device cost savings, and many other areas. Colden Company has written extensively on integrating tablets, and mobile in general, into your business in the past. From BYOD, to mobile safety and security, to mobile security policies, to mobile strategy, we’ve covered it all. If you want to manage your mobile devices running iOS, Android, or Windows, we’ve discussed our Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.

Bottom line – Colden Company has the experience to help you succeed with your tablet and mobile initiatives. Contact us at 888-600-4560, via email at info@coldencompany.com, or via Facebook or Twitter. We’ll get your message on our tablets!






Laptop or Tablet?

Posted on: May 29th, 2014 by jiml | No Comments

Laptop or tablet?  That is a question that we are hearing from customers more frequently as the tablet market matures. In fact, a recent study shows that tablets are the preferred device for folks to use at home.

Tablets Favored Device At Home

Simply comparing what we see in use on an airplane these days compared to five years ago shows that tablets have made significant inroads in the traditionally PC-oriented market space.  Tablets are seemingly everywhere. Another interesting study has shown that 96% of iPad users also own a laptop.

Microsoft’s wildest dream: Killing the laptop

This shows that the iPad, at least, has not been able to completely do away with the laptop.  There are some legitimate reasons for that, most notably the need for business applications that may not run on an iOS or Android platform.

Microsoft has just released the Surface Pro 3 which runs a full Windows 8.1 environment.  This device is larger (12-inch screen) and some models are actually less expensive than the Surface Pro 2.  Microsoft has gone out of its way to tout this as the device that finally replaces the laptop. So, is this the device that will finally make users commit solely to a tablet?  Perhaps…perhaps not.  The Surface Pro 3 is large for a tablet and slightly small for a laptop.  For those looking for smaller and more portable tablet devices, this is not the product for you.  Those who like a larger screen on their laptop will be equally disappointed. From a functionality standpoint, it could possibly replace your laptop depending on the applications you need and the ways you use them (frequently mobile, etc.).  The Surface Pro 3 runs a full version of Windows 8.1 and will run anything a desktop or laptop running Windows 8.1 will run.  The question that needs to be asked is “Do all my necessary applications run on Windows 8.1?”.  If you are unsure of the answer, you need to do more research before making your decision.

Beyond the Microsoft Surface, many third parties like Dell and Lenovo are now firmly in the mix.  The Dell Venue 11 Pro for example, offers the full Windows 8.1 experience like the Surface Pro 3 but with more options and form factors to choose from. Do not discount other manufacturers in your search as some of these devices may offer additional ports that you may want or need.  Also, do not discount tablets if they are a great fit just because the application you need requires Windows 7.  The use of virtual operating system instances can allow your application to function although not a seamlessly as a native Windows 8.1 application.

Are we at the point where tablet users can throw away that laptop?  Microsoft’s holy grail of marrying one operating system (Windows 8.1) to both the tablet and PC/laptop has arrived, so the answer for some is yes. For the others, the answer may still be no for now, but we are certainly a lot closer today than ever before.

Do you have a business need for tablets?  Regardless of which mobile platform or device you select – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows RT, or Windows 8.1; smartphone, tablet, or hybrid – the key is identifying your business needs and determining which solution(s) best address those needs. There is an almost unending number of options to choose from. What is needed is someone who can guide you through those options and help you determine what combination of solutions will bring your business the functionality that it desires.  Someone like Colden Company, who has done exactly that for many of our customers helping them bring the power of mobile solutions to their business.  Contact Colden Company today and let us help you as we have helped many of our existing customers implement tablets efficiently into their business process.  Call us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com or see us on Facebook or Twitter (@coldenco).






Mobile Device Management

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by jiml | No Comments

As a business, you must protect your customer’s information from the myriad of threats that exist in today’s digital world.  There are so many more points of attack and methods of attacking available to the hacker today.  It is truly frightening to understand the severity of the threats that exist.

One of those attack points is mobile devices. Below is an interesting graphic published by ComScore that shows device usage during a typical weekday. It is interesting to see that phones and tablets win the day outside of business hours.

Device Usage

The question from a security standpoint becomes, “Are these devices connected to your business?” and “Is there business data on them that needs protecting?”. If you are a health care provider, do employees get email on their phones that could potentially contain protected data? The problem becomes evident when phrased as such.

In today’s word of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), employers face the challenge of securing company data on devices that they might not own.  Ten years ago, companies supplied the cell phones for their employees.  That is not the case today in many cases.  Before we touch on technology that can help resolve the problem, it is important to discuss the policy first. Does your business have a policy in place regarding mobile devices? BYOD?  If not, it is the year 2014 and it should be a part of every company policy handbook, large or small. You need to decide what information is allowed on these mobile devices and what the end users responsibilities are. Setting the policy in writing is the first step to getting a handle on the problem.

From a technology standpoint, Colden Company Inc. can help.  We offer Mobile Device Management solutions both for company owned devices as well as BYOD devices. The set of available features differs between the two.  For example, for company owned devices, you have the ability to track phones calls and text messages etc. These features would not be available on BYOD phones.  But you can still enforce policies like requiring a pin code for phones, or the ability to wipe the phone to protect your critical company data. In the case of either company owned or BYOD phones or tablets, you can secure your company’s critical information for pennies per month.  Considering the starting sizes of HIPAA fines, or the costs of reporting a data breach, Mobile Device Management is something your business should strongly consider.

Please call us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com or see us on FaceBook (like us!) or Twitter – @coldenco.

Windows 8.1 and the Evolution of PC Computing

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by billp | No Comments

Back in December 2011, we wrote about Microsoft Windows 8 and the Tablet Market. At that time, Windows 8 was just around the corner, hardware manufacturers were experimenting with new types of devices, and we were unsure how it was all going to come together. Windows 8 was the first major – and very ambitious – change to the Windows user interface (UI) since Windows 95 almost two decades earlier and was met with mixed reviews because it significantly changed the way we interact with our PCs. Traditional PC users complained – quite vocally – that Microsoft was forcing a mobile-first experience that they did not want and disrupting their ability to use their PCs. However, one thing was and is sure – Microsoft is fully committed to merging mobile and traditional PC computing, and Windows 8 was the first leap forward in that revolution.

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 on October 17, 2013. Microsoft is committed to more rapid updates to Windows instead of major upgrades every three years, and Windows 8.1 is the first proof that they are serious about that, with Windows 8.1 coming only about a year after the release of Windows 8.

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Don’t expect any undoing of the major UI changes unveiled in Windows 8. Instead, Windows 8.1 represents a more refined version of Microsoft vision to marry mobile and traditional PCs; mobile devices take center stage instead of traditional PCs, and apps backed by cloud services take the focus away from heavy desktop applications with local storage. Microsoft hasn’t taken away a user’s ability to use a Windows 8.x PC just like a Windows 7 PC, but the foundation is there to allow users to use their PCs in the new-generation cloud-backed computing world, behind the firewall on a business network with local or server-based storage, or even both.

Again, make no mistake – Microsoft is fully and firmly committed to the future direction they started in with Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 makes few compromises. Instead, it adds a lot of refinement that should please both those ready to embrace mobile-first computing and those wanting to have a more traditional PC experience. Some of the changes in Windows 8.1 include

  • The Start button is on the desktop! This is not the Start Menu we all know and love from Windows 95 through Windows 7. Rather, this button will take you to the Windows 8.1 Start screen where you can select apps to launch. To further ease the transition, you can set the Start button to show the Apps view instead of the Start screen when you click, and even list traditional desktop apps first.

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  • You can boot directly to the desktop instead of the Start screen, addressing one of the biggest complaints from traditional PC users, especially in business environments.

  • The Start screen now has more customization options, with multiple tiles sizes, more graphical personalization options, and less error-prone layout changes.

  • More Control Panel features are available in the Metro-based UI, allowing mobile users to avoid using the traditional Control Panel to make changes.

  • Search has been expanded into Smart Search, which combines local PC search with Bing-based web search results.

  • SkyDrive cloud storage is more integrated than ever, with a much-improved sync engine built directly into Windows 8.1. Sync loads icons and the minimum information necessary to identify a file, then downloads the full file on-the-fly when you open it. You can set individual files and folders to always be available offline, or even set your full SkyDrive instance to be offline. Your settings and apps are also on SkyDrive, allowing you to move from Windows 8.1 PC to Windows 8.1 PC seamlessly.

  • All of the built-in apps (Mail, Calendar, People, etc.) have received updates to

These are just a few highlights of the changes in Windows 8.1. Best of all, Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8 users. Just go to the Windows Store and download it online.

Hardware makers are rapidly innovating as well, announcing new PC and tablet form factors and hybrids to take advantage of the hybrid nature of Windows 8.x. Microsoft refined their own Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2. Sony and Dell are competing directly with the Surface Pro with the Sony VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC and Dell Venue 11 Pro. Lenovo is really throwing out the PC/tablet/hybrid design rulebook with offerings like the Yoga Pro 2 and IdeaPad Yoga 11S.

If you use a Windows 8 PC, the upgrade to 8.1 is highly recommended. If you’re using an older version of Windows and are put off by the UI changes in Windows 8.x, it’s fair to say that your opinion is unlikely to change with Windows 8.1. That said, Microsoft is working to make the transitions less abrupt and jarring when switching between Modern and traditional UI, so you’re likely to find Windows 8.1 an easier transition.

If you’re looking to replace old Windows XP PCs (remember that support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014), or if you have business needs that lend themselves to a mobile solution, consider Windows 8.1. Let Colden Company help you decide if Windows 8.1 or any of the modern PC designs are a good fit for your business needs. If you’d like to know more, call us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com, see us on Facebook , or follow us on Twitter.






BYOD Invading Like a Mobile Monster!

Posted on: December 7th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

You’ve probably heard about businesses adopting “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies that allow employees to bring their own mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) to the workplace for use with business systems. Businesses benefit by saving money on purchasing devices and employees benefit by not being required to carry multiple devices. Of course, there are always risks. We even wrote about the importance of developing a mobile security policy earlier this year.

Rapid7 has created an infographic that shows how businesses need to learn to contol the “monster” that is BYOD. Here are just some of the risks:

  • 71% of businesses surveyed said mobile devices caused an increase in security incidents
  • 71% of devices contain high severity operating system and application vulnerabilities
  • 51% of organizations experienced data loss from employee use of unsecured mobile devices
  • 26% of authenticated devices inactive for >30 days, possibly lost or stolen

You need to control the mobile monster in your business! Mobile device management (MDM) is a very real and complex problem for businesses of all sizes. In 2013, Colden Company will offer MDM to customers of our Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solution. Why wait? RMM provides many benefits today, and MDM will just add to its top-tier feature set. Contact us for more information today.







Mobile Safety and Security

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

Think back ten years ago and try to remember what kind of mobile device you were carrying. Calling it a “device” may even be a stretch because, more than likely, your device was a phone that made calls and did little more. You may have had a WAP web browser and texted using your phone keypad, but your phone was primarily for making and receiving calls. Now we carry devices/phones that are dramatically more powerful and capable, sometimes even taking the place of PCs for working on the road. Along with this increased capacity comes safety and security risks – both personal and professional – that need to be considered.

Whether you carry an aging smartphone or a brand-new Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, Nokia Lumia 900, or similar, you can be exposing yourself or your business data to theft if you’re not careful. The New York Police Department recently revealed that thefts involving Apple products have increased 40% over the same period last year, resulting in a 4% increase in overall crime. But there are things you can do to protect your personal property and the business and personal data you carry on your smart devices.

Here are some suggestions to improve your mobile safety and security, and possibly even your personal safety.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. Don’t use your mobile device to check the time when a stranger asks at night. Don’t use your mobile device near a subway, bus, etc. exit. Treat your mobile device as you would your wallet.
  2. Use security software that can help locate your mobile device if it is stolen. Apple provides Find My iPhone as a free service to all iCloud users, and this can also be used for iPads and iPod Touch devices. A well-respected solution for Android users is Lookout Mobile Security.
  3. Protect your mobile device with a access code of some kind – password, passcode, or PIN. This simple measure can protect your personal and business data in the event of theft. We recommend the use of longer passwords or passcodes over a simple PIN for increased security. Taking it a step further, most mobile operating systems allow you to wipe your device if an access code is incorrectly entered a certain number of times.
  4. Use encryption on your mobile device, if possible. Be aware that encryption can have a slight impact on battery life due to the process of encrypting/decrypting your data. iOS, Android, and the upcoming Windows Phone 8 (but, sadly, not Windows Phone 7) all support device encyption.
  5. In a business, enforce mobile device policies. All of the major mobile operating systems provide tools for centralized device management and security policy enforcement, and many third-party value-add tools exist as well. Such tools allow businesses to enforce device access code usage and complexity, remotely and securely wipe lost or stolen devices, and enforce device encryption, among many other settings.

From the standpoint of personal safety, texting while driving is getting a lot of attention. Many States have enacted laws prohibiting texting while driving. Distractions while driving – texting or otherwise – are a danger. The government site distraction.gov reports that ‘In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.” The mobile carriers are starting campaigns or using technology against texting while driving; AT&T started the “It Can Wait” campaign, Sprint has “Focus on Driving,” and Verizon is conducting a “Don’t Text and Drive Pledge” in Ohio high schools. Sixth-grader Victoria Walker was recently awarded $20,000.00 by AT&T to bring to market a mobile app she designed called “Rode Dog,” designed to bark at your to warn you against texting while driving.

The bottom line is that your personal safety is far more important that your mobile device usage. Don’t text while driving. Be smart about when, where, and how you use your device. Protect yourself and your information.

Do you have questions about how to secure your mobile device? Do you want to use tools to enforce security policies across your business mobile devices? Contact us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com or see us on Facebook or Twitter (@coldenco) if you want to use your devices safely and securely.







A Look Below the Surface

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by jiml | No Comments

As you have probably heard by now, Microsoft announced their new tablet technology, called Surface. By most accounts the hardware appears to be high quality.  The 10.6” screen has a very nice display, touch screen technology and the device has many available ports for connectivity.

Rather than debate the functionality of the iPad vs. the Surface, we will take a different approach to our discussion.  What should you know as a business about this new technology?

For starters, the Surface will eventually be running Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8.  This operating system is key to the success of Microsoft as it will be the operating system to run PCs and laptops as well as tablets.  The merging of the tablet and PC operating systems is the evolution that many have been waiting for.  This means that any programs that you can run on your PC can run on your tablet, unless your device requires Windows RT, a scaled down version for phone/tablet level hardware (ARM hardware).  The important thing to note is that Microsoft will begin releasing the Surface with Windows RT.  Many Windows applications will not run on this operating system. Microsoft plans to follow with a Surface tablet that runs the more business friendly Windows 8 Pro at a later date.

Another point of interest is that Microsoft will control the hardware on the surface much like Apple controls the hardware for the iPad.  From a business perspective, the good news is conformity usually leads to stability.  The bad news is that you are locked into whatever hardware choices Microsoft chooses to make.

The bright side is Windows RT will be available on a variety of tablet platforms such as the Samsung Galaxy and others.  The question remains whether software developers will embrace the Windows RT platform or not.   The full Windows 8 will be able to run on a variety of hardware choices in the desktop, laptop and net book space.  The choices for tablets capable of running the full version of Windows 8 will likely improve in the future.

Tablet devices have appeal for businesses in many areas, including sales, field users, and of course the executive toy.  The superior screen display along with the emergence of cloud technology which allows applications to be accessed with simply a browser make them functional choices as well.  Today tablets fall short running many on-premise line-of-business (LOB) applications and management of proprietary solutions like the iPad are a business challenge. A Windows 8 tablet running a full version of Windows will open many doors to these business challenges.  Just make sure you know what you are buying before you buy it and don’t get fooled into buying something that cannot meet the business objectives.

Call us today at (888) 600-4560 if you would like to hear more or email us at info@coldencompany.com or of course see us on Facebook or Twitter (@coldenco).





How to protect personal data on devices you plan to sell

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

A recent study shows that it’s almost impossible to get rid of personal information from some devices, even if you follow the manufacturer’s directions for wiping the device clean. BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows 7 devices are reported safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s directions for securely wiping them, but Android and Windows XP are another question. If you’re not sure if you’re safe, contact us for help.

How to protect personal data on devices you plan to sell (Los Angeles Times; March 29, 2012)

Importance of Developing a Mobile Security Policy

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by jiml | No Comments

The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and Android devices among consumers has led to an interesting dilemma for IT security professionals. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to work has become the norm in many organizations today. Gartner has stated that, by 2014, 90 percent of organizations will support corporate applications on consumer devices and 80 percent of professionals will use at least two personal devices to access corporate data. The general capital outlay is decreasing, but is it at the terrible expense of security, privacy and control? Those devices are downloading company email, connecting to company resources, and potentially storing sensitive company information. What happens to that information when an employee leaves the company? That question is causing security professionals to investigate mobile device security.

MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions are now becoming an important component to companies’ IT security plans. Software can play a part in security, but without a comprehensive mobile security policy, the software will not accomplish your goals. Colden Company Inc. recommends that businesses review their company or HR handbooks and develop clear and enforceable policies centered around mobile devices. For example, do you allow your employees to download company email to their personal phone? Is that acceptable? Should their device have a passcode or password on it? What do you do if the employee leaves the company? Is it clear that employees should not download company data onto their personal mobile devices? What are the penalties for non-compliance? It is important that the policy be developed with the input of business leaders, not just left at the doorstep of the IT department.

Once the policy is written and reviewed, there are a variety of tools available for remotely wiping phones, implementing password policies, and enforcing other security policies. It is tempting to put the cart before the horse and purchase the tools before the policy is developed, but we caution against that.

What is clear is that mobile devices are going to continue to play a larger and more important role in business computing. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve are understanding this trend and proactively addressing it. If your business would like to discuss how it can stay ahead , please contact us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com or see us on Facebook or Twitter.