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April 4, 2012updated 22 Aug 2016 12:46pm

Leeds council moves to secure mobile fleet

Corporate and BYOD secured and managed with MobileIron platform

By Steve Evans

Leeds City Council has moved to secure its mobile environment with MobileIron, protecting its devices and apps.

The council says the new platform will not only protect corporate-owned devices but also personal mobiles that employees use for work purposes. The MobileIron product will also help the council provision third party apps, which is says will help streamline the services it offers.

There are over 6,000 corporate devices being used by the council. Marcus Hunter, Strategic Services Manager said that 800 of those are Windows Phone devices and the council was initially trialing Active Sync to manage its mobile fleet but realised it needed a more "comprehensive" platform.

"With Microsoft at the core of our IT infrastructure we implemented ActiveSync to manage our smartphone estate. We determined that it didn’t offer the level of visibility or security that we needed to manage a broad estate of devices and a potentially broad estate of applications going forward," he said.

"We also wanted to adopt a mature smartphone platform for the corporate environment, and began assessing Android as the operating system of choice," Hunter added. "We embarked on a project to refresh our entire enterprise mobility strategy, and a secure mobile device management solution (MDM) needed to be at the heart of this."

Hunter said the council had also started to notice an increase in employees bringing their own devices to work (BYOD), and rather than simply banning the use of personal devices the council looked at how to incorporate them into the council’s systems.

The business case for supporting BYOD included increased productivity and user experience without compromising security. A reduction in costs connected with managing and maintaining corporate devices, Hunter said.

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The range of different devices the council wanted to support did however cause issues with potential mobile security platforms.

Hunter said: "We conducted trials on each of the MDM platforms and found individual strengths in encryption or heightened support for one particular OS. However, as we move towards iOS, Android and everything in between, we needed a platform that could support and secure a truly mixed mobile estate without adding complexity."

The council eventually settled on MobileIron. "The central management functions of the platform mean that operational overheads will reduce. With technology to match the needs of our employees and support the corporate roadmap of the council, we are no longer limited in what we can do as both an IT department or as an organisation," he said.

The council is looking to expand the platform beyond security and management. This could include MobileIron’s App Storefront, which could help the highways department and housing association to procure and use internal and external mobile applications.

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