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CIO meets mobile challenges head-on

Tom Kaneshige | July 8, 2014
In some ways, veteran CIO Sam Lamonica is an old dog learning new tricks.

In the old days, Lamonica would have shut the rogue app down right away.

"You can't do that anymore," Lamonica says. "We have other tools for free that are provided by Autodesk that basically does the same thing as [the rogue app], but because it hit the streets first and is covertly out there, now I can't wrench it out of their hands."

Instead, Lamonica sat down with the rogue app maker, negotiated an enterprise agreement and got it contained. Then he formed an operations technology team to act as the go-between for IT and employees to ward off future rogue apps. The team is charged with researching, assessing, recommending and piloting new apps, and has the power to negotiate enterprise agreements.

That's not to say Rosendin Electric has gotten rid of rogue apps completely. Rosendin Electric often operates as a sub-contractor working under a general contractor. On one job, the general contract had 50 people using the rogue app, and so Rosendin Electric workers had to use it, too.

"Sometimes, the very technology we don't want to use we're forced to use," Lamonica says. "The good news is that there aren't a lot of construction apps out there."

It's all about getting ahead of mobility before it swamps you.

Buy Into MDM Before You Have Mobile Security Issues

A year ago, Lamonica needed to decide on an MDM security solution before security problems spiraled out of control. It's a critical decision, because a CIO will have to rely heavily on a relatively new MDM vendor and its capability to navigate the changing mobile landscape. A slip-up in mobile security can be pretty grim for the CIO.

"The last thing I want is the CEO calling me and asking why his salary is on the Internet," Lamonica says.

Lamonica decided to go with MobileIron, but the decision wasn't an easy one. Sure, MobileIron had all the features and functions Lamonica wanted to help manage his company-owned fleet of iPads and iPhones -- Rosendin Electric does not support BYOD -- but MobileIron still hadn't mastered an ease of deployment for the Android, Lamonica says.

For its part, MobileIron worked with Rosendin Electric on pilot projects to win its business. MobileIron also has made strides to support Android. Today, 70 percent of attendees at its recent user conference manage Android through MobileIron.

"Android is a more challenging operating system to secure for the enterprise than iOS because of its fragmentation," says Ojas Rege, MobileIron's vice president of strategy, adding, "Deploying Android successfully requires us to make as much of the complexity and variability as possible invisible to our customer. We do expect that Google's increasing focus on enterprise Android combined with our engineering investments will continue to expand the business capabilities of Android and continue to make it easier to deploy."


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