The debate within business organizations of whether to use consumer devices or to invest in rugged devices for the operations side of their business is as old as personal computing itself. And with the pandemic having shown that endpoint management is now part of the cost of doing business, it’s time to put the tired old debate to rest once and for all.
Weighing the true cost of consumer devices
The pandemic and the great 2020 digital transformation that followed brought terms like “user endpoint management” out of the realm of information security and into the board room. Where before UEM solutions might have been viewed as costly or unnecessary due to the robust nature of a firm’s firewall software, the spate of cyberattacks that have occurred worldwide against the work-from-home workforce has spurred the C-suite to reevaluate their stance.
Overnight, the value of having a cybersecurity strategy that includes UEM, VPN, and MDM solutions for managing company mobile devices went from “makes good sense” to “industry best practice” for white-collar companies whose employees primarily own their laptops.
But what about enterprise-level companies whose employees don’t have the luxury of working from bed? The essential workers who walk the floors of fulfillment centers, drive out into oil fields, or manage construction sites? Should they be expected to adhere to the new BYOD policy that affects sales and accounting?
Sleek consumer devices like the latest iPhone may look nice in the office but if you drop one on the floor of your fulfillment center, you’ll be lucky if it survives.
Further, planned obsolescence in these devices, frequent software updates, and batteries that are difficult or impossible to swap-out also make consumer devices a risky investment for businesses who count on their endpoint devices to work hard for years before needing to be replaced.
There is a growing “right to repair” movement across Europe that seeks to require phone manufacturers to produce parts and provide instruction on how to repair their devices rather than force consumers to rely upon third-party and grey market parts and maintenance, but that still doesn’t answer the durability question. All it does is create a paperwork logjam as your employees attempt to write-off every cracked screen or battery that only charges to 63%.
Additionally, as consumer phone software is updated constantly by the manufacturers, it can become a challenge to ensure that your endpoint management software stays compatible the longer you use the device. New updates to a consumer device’s operating system might outstrip the speed at which your UEM software is updated – or it could be that your Android-using employees go obsolete with an update while your iOS employees are fine. This is an avoidable catastrophe.
Paired longevity solutions in hardware and software
There is a solution to both these issues – durability and security.
Rugged devices are designed specifically for your hardworking enterprise operations. They integrate seamlessly into UEM and MDM platforms, can be trained to only engage with secure networks, and can be geofenced to turn themselves into expensive paperweights if taken off-property.
Rugged devices are not only trusted for their durability and performance, but their security capabilities are also unparalleled when it comes to providing your IT security team with top-down controls over device management and data security.
Their sturdy construction, replaceable shift batteries, and stable software platform ensures that your investment will last for years and will eliminate “down-time” (if used correctly).
What’s more, a survey conducted by Samsung found that employees were not only open to using ruggedized devices, over 90% of respondents currently using rugged tech – and over half of non-user respondents – wanted management to invest more into such devices.
Device management and your security ecosystem
The devastating 2017 hack of Danish shipping giant A.P. Møller-Maersk showed that huge logistics companies and the countless smaller companies that support them need to have robust measures implemented to prevent malicious software from spreading like wildfire across their systems.
2020 proved to be the year that bad actors started exploiting vulnerabilities in the logistics and supply chain industry and the subsidiary transport companies who supply global players. Unlike the Maersk hack of 2017, last year’s rise in cyberattacks saw many mid-sized companies targeted, primarily with ransomware. Utilizing proper endpoint management solutions to eliminate the threat of onboarding unauthorized software, apps, or network access plays a substantial role in eliminating these kinds of threats.
Geofenced, ruggedized devices can protect devices against coffee spills, cyber attacks, being dropped on the floor, data breaches, heat, dust and unauthorized user access to forbidden third-party apps and networks. Many of these devices also come equipped with features that consumer devices simply don’t have, like inbuilt barcode scanners and card readers, swappable shift batteries, biometric scanners and an array of serial ports to suit any industrial application. These scanners, ports and readers can all be safely managed, of course, through fully integrated MDM and UEM software to ensure your data stays your own.
On top of the full suite of in-house protections and controls your ITSec and IT teams can use to ensure unlimited uptime in a threat-aware environment, this easy integration into your existing device management software allows for added security in the event a device is lost or stolen.
It’s now a given that enterprise operations need endpoint management software.
The hardware solution that your endpoint management solution is utilized through can make your devices more secure, longer lasting, and easier to maintain in the long run – if that device is ruggedized and designed specifically for high-intensity enterprise operational use.
Finally, 2020 saw a spike in cyberattacks against the kinds of industries that utilize rugged devices. Bad actors targeted companies that didn’t have a robust-enough detection, containment, and mitigation strategies in place for cybersecurity threats and ended up paying dearly for it.
After a year of trial-by-cybercrime-fire, the verdict is in – rugged hardware paired with enterprise level endpoint management software means your business will be safe, secure, and efficient.