The growing complexities around mobile security, compliance and supporting mobile users can be too much for some organizations, especially those that aren’t technology-focused. When you throw in IT resource constraints, management faces the choice to either scale back enterprise mobility initiatives or look to outsource their mobility services to a third-party mobility managed services (MMS) provider.

What’s an MMS Provider?

An MMS provider offers a combination of security management, support and maintenance, mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM), mobility platform management (MPM) and related offerings to corporate customers.

These providers benefit from the economies of scale enabling them to charge a monthly cost per user to their customers. Customers can scale the services to meet their organization’s mobility needs without having to make the investments in headcount, hardware or hard-to-find mobile security expertise.

Tips for Choosing an MMS Provider

The MMS provider has the expert technical staff and security infrastructure to support your mobile workforce. Follow these four tips when choosing the right provider for your organization:

1. Interview potential MMS providers

You need to take the upfront time to interview representatives from the providers on your short list. Here are some questions you should ask in your interview:

  • What long-term customers do they have? Extra points for posted case studies that name names and list the outcomes the MMS provider achieved for their clients.
  • What account management processes do they have in place with their customers? Do they have a web-based management portal? Will you have a full-time account manager assigned to your account?
  • What available rate cards do they offer? Inquire about pricing and service descriptions.
  • What are the available service level agreements (SLAs) and related costs?
  • Be sure to also ask any questions you might have on the MMS provider’s standard contract after reading the fine print.

You should also get a feel for whether their corporate culture meshes with your company. While it may not seem important to cover, you’re potentially outsourcing a mission-critical piece of your enterprise productivity and security. You want to be able to offer your employees a seamless experience when dealing with the new provider.

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2. Understand your MMS technical and business requirements

When making a move from an on-premise to an MMS security model, it’s crucial to understand your requirements. Start with documenting the current enterprise mobility management, mobile device management, MAM and other mobile security solutions that you have in place for protecting your mobile workforce. Next capture the following requirements:

  • SLAs that your IT department might have in place with internal business units. Your new MMS provider will have to meet or exceed those SLAs to be effective.
  • Security and compliance support for your mobile devices. Keeping a mobile workforce compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or another compliance standard could be a significant driver to engaging with an MSP.
  • Other mobility services that you want to outsource, including mobile strategy, mobile device procurement, break/fix support and data plan management.

3. Plan for integration with your current systems

Make it a top requirement that your new MMS provider’s security systems can integrate with your IT systems, including:

  • User account management with password management
  • Directory services with your network resources information
  • Service desk ticketing system to ensure a seamless channel for user support
  • Financial systems for capturing bring your own device stipends and expenses via your organization’s cost centers

4. Become familiar with the economics of MMS outsourcing

Going from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operational expenditure (OPEX) model can be daunting for many organizations, as it goes against the way things have always been done, and there may be a need for staffing changes. However, moving to an OPEX model could also result in significant cost savings. Mobility budgets are dependent on security threats and technology trends, which could mean escalating costs. But if done right, moving to a managed services provider can free an organization from such budget concerns.

No mobility CAPEX to OPEX discussion is complete without taking into account the total cost of ownership, which entails maximizing the production value of your enterprise mobility investment, including your ROI for going mobile. Participants in this discussion should include:

  • Accounting department representation to financially justify the move to a mobility managed services provider
  • IT staff familiar with current mobile security operations who can speak to the level of effort and related questions
  • Executive sponsor who may need to approve the outsourcing agreement

Moving from an internally managed mobile device management solution to a MMS provider makes good business sense for many organizations. The decision frees up your IT staff to pursue more mission-critical projects while your workforce benefits from the security, flexibility and expertise the managed services provider brings to the table.

Learn more about how the industry leading Knox security platform can protect your users’ privacy and your enterprise’s data.

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Will Kelly

Will Kelly is a freelance writer living in the Washington, DC area. He focuses on enterprise mobility and mobile security. Will also works as a contract technical writer for commercial clients. Follow him on Twitter: @willkelly

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