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Armed with a mandate to eliminate the administrator work associated with running a company, Rippling provides the mobile device management (MDM) software required to manage all of your devices.

Rippling is a global company. Though their first location was in San Francisco, California, they also have offices in Bengaluru, India, Beijing, China, and Warsaw, Poland. Their team of over 1,000 employees can speak more than 30 languages and hail from a diverse set of backgrounds.

The mobile device management market is growing, due largely to the increasing number of employees working remotely.

Rippling competes with major competitors, like Jamf, and other well-regarded MDM providers, such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Scalefusion.

Whether setting up hardware for a new hire or upgrading equipment for an existing employee, Rippling helps an IT team buy or reassign devices.

Order Mac or PC computers, monitors, and other peripherals

View and manage unused devices in your organization’s inventory

Wipe old data, if necessary

Automatically install the software applications needed for your employees, complete with the requisite accounts and permissions based on their roles

Ship devices

IT teams can use Rippling to secure their mobile devices and protect company data automatically.

Disable devices during offboarding

Encrypt employees’ hard drives

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Enforce operating system and security updates

Lock and erase lost or stolen devices

Identify and block viruses

Unused devices can be stored securely at the off-site Rippling warehouse.

Receive assessments and have the condition of each device logged and viewable from your dashboard

Stock new devices at the Rippling warehouse, so they are ready to deploy when needed

No need to physically interact with any of your devices

Eliminate the pain associated with device offboarding when employees leave.

Schedule a date and time that an employee’s device should be locked

Choose whether to remotely wipe the data, leave the device as is or ship to the Rippling warehouse to be processed automatically according to your instructions

Manually retrieve a device or pre-arrange to have Rippling collect it, by providing employees with a return box and prepaid shipping label

Using Rippling MDM, IT teams can manage and entire fleet of devices.

Remotely install and manage software applications on any device, including custom applications

Create custom profiles to control access to WiFi, VPN, printers, and other peripherals and services

Execute shell scripts remotely

Real-time activity stream provides current and ongoing snapshots of all your IT assets, aiding productivity and security

Know which users are using which apps at which time

Rippling is compatible with both Apple and Windows devices

Rippling provides a series of prebuilt workflow templates that can be customized to meet a company’s needs.

Examples include:

Available Disk Space Report Template:

View the amount of available disk space for each device, including the total storage and percent free.  

Poor Battery Health Alert:

Configure alerts to automatically send alerts when a device’s battery health is poor.

Device Cost Exceeds Budget Alert:

Set thresholds and have employee managers and IT admins alerted when the cost of an employee’s device exceeds those amounts.

Device Servicing Bundle:

Keep track of warranty expiration dates ensuring devices are serviced and repaired before it’s too late.

Rippling MDM is well regarded by their users.

The cost of Rippling MDM is customized to the needs of your organization and is dependent on the products required to support primary operations, such as the Rippling Human Resource Information Systems Software (HRIS).

Pricing for Rippling MDM begins at $35 per month for the core platform, plus $5-$8 per month, per user for each of the required features and modules.

Each Rippling MDM product subscription includes:

Zero-touch deployment 

Buy and set up devices

Configure and manage security

Track and manage inventory

Remote storage and shipping

Choosing an MDM tool isn’t an easy task with so many options available. Rippling is a sophisticated solution, providing multi-module employee management options in addition to MDM functionality. Applauded for their quality usability, scalability, and support, Rippling MDM is a solid choice for companies regardless of size.

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How To Accelerate Byod With Mobile Device Management

When IT managers consider mobile device strategies, they often consider Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), where end users simply use whatever smartphone they’ve already got, with a “hands-off” strategy. That’s in contrast to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) or Company-Owned/Personally Enabled (COPE) programs, where enterprise IT takes full responsibility for managing things.

The reason BYOD is hands-off is simple: IT managers don’t want to take on the bewilderingly unpredictable responsibility of support and configuration for every possible smartphone that might show up in the workplace. And that’s a pretty reasonable concern. But it also might be looking at the problem backward. If an employee insists on using a smartphone that is so old, unusual or incompatible that you can’t support it — maybe they shouldn’t be handling sensitive enterprise information with that device in the first place.

Now take this one step further: If a device can’t be supported, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get support calls. If a device is completely out-of-date, it’s likely got a user who wants to get work done, but can’t, because they’re fiddling around with a smartphone that simply isn’t capable of what they need. That ultimately creates considerably more work for you and for them.

The Case For MDM: Minimum Device Management

An alternative to completely unsupervised, potentially time-wasting BYOD failures is to consider Mobile Device Management (MDM) as a minimum bar for participation in your BYOD program. In other words, if a device can’t be connected to a basic MDM system, it’s probably not a good idea to bring that device into the BYOD ecosystem. Remember that BYOD exists for a reason: It allows people to be productive in a more mobile and flexible environment than sitting down at their desk in the office, or their laptop everywhere else. If you’re not delivering that productivity and convenience, then your BYOD program is not meeting its goals.

Build a BYOD Plan for Your Business

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Get our comprehensive guide and template for developing a BYOD policy tailored to your organization. Download Now

MDM compatibility as a basic requirement for BYOD isn’t a particularly difficult standard to set. Most enterprises will be using some variation on Microsoft Exchange, which enables an agent that includes basic MDM features when the smartphone or tablet is connected. And if you have a more full-featured MDM or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tool, even better.

Having MDM as a requirement for linking a smartphone ensures that operating systems are of recent vintage, which helps with security, and that the smartphone can handle the enterprise applications used in BYOD. That usually includes (at least) basic office communication tools such as email, calendar and contacts, as well as some type of audio or video conferencing application.

If the device is current enough to run modern applications, the user experience is going to be better all the way around. It’s not just the BYOD user that matters. BYOD enables collaboration, so a bad BYOD user experience contaminates everyone else. You don’t want to have one user on an outdated or incompatible device causing issues with other staff members as they try to participate in a video conference or missing meetings because their calendar is not updating properly.

By setting MDM compatibility as a basic requirement, though, you do much more than establish that the device is mainstream enough and modern enough to be connected to critical enterprise applications. You get some basic and important controls: minimum password lengths and lock times, application store restrictions, and remote wipe and lock capability.

The Basics Remain Necessities

Using MDM as a basic gateway to BYOD enrollment also saves time. When a user links their BYOD smartphone to enterprise MDM, you’ve got instant control of the operating system and application features you consider vital to basic enterprise security. There’s no need for the user to bring the device in to have someone at the help desk puzzle over settings and try to catch everything, because the MDM tool handles that quickly and generally in a manner independent of operating system or version.

Creating a document that tells BYOD users some basic security features to set and policies to follow is a good first step, but these documents are also easily ignored or forgotten by busy, disinterested end users. MDM lets you take those basic settings and actually enforce them, which will accelerate deployment, facilitate audits and promote best practice security hygiene all at the same time.

Learn more about setting BYOD policies with this free top-to-bottom guide and template.

Having A Mobile Device Policy Is Critical For Law Firms

Law firms have stringent data and information security requirements — and for good reason. According to the most recent survey by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), 67 percent of respondents said that security management is one of their top challenges. Professional conduct rules mandate that client information must be held in the most secure possible manner. In the past, sensitive and confidential documents would either be stored in secure file cabinets or only handled on in-house computers. Modern digital technologies like smartphones and tablets have changed things for the better, but they’ve also introduced new security risks to law firms and created the need for a mobile device policy. Mobile devices are now everywhere and can contain vast swathes of information. Should data be compromised, the stakes are extremely high — law firms could face costly lawsuits and significant damage to their reputations, making it essential for them to have an effective mobile device policy.

Security Awareness Training and Risk Assessment Plan

One of the best ways to drive a culture of security throughout every firm is to ensure that everyone in the organization is aware of the threats, from top partners to new hires. Security awareness training is a critical step toward educating all employees about the latest developments that could affect the security of the firm, its staff and its clients. With a security risk assessment plan, firms can identify vulnerabilities in technology, processes and staff, and mitigate any issues or gaps with current security policies or processes for accessing and storing confidential data.

Mobile security is crucial for legal firms.

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This infographic provides five mobile security tactics to protect company data. Download Now

Secure Mobile Devices

Any mobile device policy should include the firm’s position on mobile devices and rules regarding the use of personally owned devices. According to ILTA, 68 percent of law firms have a BYOD policy that covers smartphones, and 57 percent have policies covering tablets, but more than 30 percent of firms have no mobile device policy, leaving them vulnerable to a breach. To protect confidential data, law firms should deploy a selection of approved mobile devices that have high levels of mobile security built in, including hardware level security.

Mobile Device Management and Data Separation Solutions

Law firms should ensure that all mobile devices are registered before allowing them to connect to the network, and that a mobile device management (MDM) solution is in place, which should include two-factor authentication for access to sensitive data and applications. Most of the top MDM solutions integrate directly with Samsung’s Knox Workspace, which provides containers for separating personal and business applications and data so that business data is adequately secured. Should a device be lost or stolen, data from the business container can be wiped.

App Management

Gartner has estimated that 75 percent of all mobile apps contain vulnerabilities, so controlling which mobile apps are used on mobile devices is another consideration that should be included in a mobile device policy. Google Play for Work allows IT departments to whitelist or blacklist apps, giving law firms greater control over which apps can and cannot be used. It also makes it easier to deploy custom-built apps to users within an enterprise app store.

Law firms have traditionally been considered laggards in the deployment of new technologies, preferring to lock down information in non-digital or legacy environments. With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets in the legal industry, that approach is no longer an option. Data must be safeguarded, and a mobile device policy is essential.

Are unpatched security vulnerabilities worth the risk? A recent report shows just how much known vulnerabilities can cost your business.

Slingplayer Mobile For Iphone Review

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone review

Sling Media’s much awaited SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is finally here and available for purchase in the iTunes App Store.  The price is $29.99, which is on par with SlingPlayer Mobile for Windows, Blackberry and Symbian. The only two differences between SlingPlayer for iPhone and the other platforms are all-touch navigation and the crippling of streaming over 3G and EDGE data connection.  Streaming shows from a SlingBox to the iPhone anywhere and anytime is the primary reason to shell out $30 for an app.  With AT&T playing the Terms and Condition card against Sling Media (see below), forcing their hands to disable 3G in order to pass through the App Store, it renders the app completely useless when you’re not in a WiFi zone.

Right now Sling only support 4:3 aspect content, which scales up to fill most – though not all – of the iPhone’s screen.  The company tells us that 16:9 widescreen support will be added in the app’s first update, though it will still have small black bars top and bottom since the display isn’t true widescreen.

The biggest drawback to the app, then, isn’t even its own fault.  Unlike the S60, Windows Mobile, Palm and BlackBerry versions of SlingPlayer Mobile, the iPhone software is unable to access the handset’s 3G connection and is limited to WiFi connections.  AT&T are at fault here, and it’s thanks to the App Store and the software limitations it places on developers if they want to be included that the carrier’s terms and conditions are being so rigorously imposed on one particular user group.  AT&T’s statement is as follows:

“Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.

That said, we don’t restrict users from going to a Web site that lets them view videos. But what our terms and conditions prohibit is the transferring, or slinging, of a TV signal to their personal computer or smartphone.

The Slingbox application for the iPhone runs on WiFi. That’s good news for AT&T’s iPhone 3G customers, who get free WiFi access at our 20,000 owned and operated hot spots in the U.S., including Starbucks, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, hotels, and airports. AT&T is the industry leader in WiFi.” AT&T official statement

The underlying message seems to be that AT&T don’t think their network could manage 3G streaming.  Going a step further, we’d wager that the success of the iPhone and use of the App Store means that SlingPlayer use among owners of the smartphone will be much higher than that of other handsets.  AT&T doesn’t feel the need to clamp down on 3G streaming for other devices, because they’re a relatively small percentage of overall network use.  However we’ve all seen what happens to AT&T when iPhoners start using their handsets in earnest: the 3G gets overwhelmed. 

AT&T are facing a situation that analysts have been predicting for years now: mobile media taking off, and network capacity being unable to support it.  The problem is that it seems to have happened sooner than the carrier expected, and the only way to deal with it is, ironically, forbid it.  That’s not a long-term solution, but the only real way to get around it is significant infrastructure investment, and right now that’s what no carrier particularly wants to do, especially if they’re not making money from either selling content themselves or charging for data access.

As it is, SlingPlayer Mobile works reasonably well over WiFi, and from talking with Sling themselves we’ve no doubt that future versions of the software will tidy up loose ends like navigation sluggishness and being limited to 4:3 aspect.  The overall experience, however, is the mobile TV equivalent of wearing a patch over a perfectly good eye.

Slashgear Review: Borders’ Mobile Chapter Sampler

SlashGear Review: Borders’ Mobile Chapter Sampler

When I’m not burying my head in electronics and scouring the pages of my favourite VCR manual I do enjoy reading non-tech fiction, so when I saw that book retail chain Borders have launched a mobile chapter sampler service I thought I’d give it a try. And since nothing we do has any meaning or significance unless we share it with the internet, you get to come along for the ride.

Basically, Borders will send you the first chapter from a selection of books direct to your cellphone; it’s free, but if you want the rest you need to actually buy the book. To sweeten the deal the download comes with a discount voucher that, by showing it in-store, saves you at the tills. The service is run in collaboration with mobile eBook retailer ICUE, who provide the technology behind the scenes.

Out of the list of 33 currently offered titles (Borders are promising a new thirty every month) I picked William Gibson’s Spook Country; the website gives you a short synopsis and the SMS keyword – in this case SPOOK – which you send in an otherwise blank message to 64888. Unlike many premium-rate SMS services neither Borders nor ICUE charge for the system; you pay the standard text message fee to your operator, and the WAP message you receive (which has a link to the download site) is free.

The eBook itself – on the Nokia N80 I tried it with – comes as a standalone programme, which could be a little intimidating to a tech novice. You not only have to download and install it, but accept the warning that unsigned programmes could cause damage to your handset. There’s no mention of this in the Borders FAQ.

A quick 59kb download later and I had a new icon in the “My Own” menu (it was only because I guessed to look there that I found it; once the installation is complete you’re left on your own to search out where the eBook has been put). Select it, and you have a choice of Read/Resume, Select Chapter (which of course only has the first), Settings, Instructions, Book Store Soon (selecting which does nothing) and Send to a Friend (which prompts for your friend’s mobile number to send the first chapter to).

Having access to the first few pages of books isn’t a new concept – Amazon have been doing it for a few years now, albeit on selected titles only – but releasing them in eBook format is a bold step for a traditional bricks’n’mortar store. Okay, so right now you need to go to your local Borders to actually buy the book, but the discount should hopefully offset that inconvenience. What’s key, then, is the range of titles available to sample. If Borders can keep up with (and hopefully extend) their promised thirty a month then that, together with the savings available (which brings prices in line with online stores) could see the service succeed. Before then, however, I’d like to see a little more clarity for first-time and novice users, who have been exposed to so much “fear the internet!” melodrama that they might not get past the first download warning.

Borders Mobile Chapter Sampler (see our full gallery of screenshots here)

Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Edition For Android Review

Your smartphone can be a treasure trove of private data, with everything from your bank-account information to your email and social-networking passwords stored inside. To keep that info from being nabbed by a malicious app or a sticky-fingered thief, Trend Micro’s Mobile Security App keeps your personal data under control in a number of ways.

The app is a free download from the Android Market, and it includes a basic malware scanner that checks if your phone or SD card are infected with any malicious software. You can upgrade to the premium version of the app by buying a one-year license (for $30) to gain access to features such as parental controls, the ability to remotely locate your device in case it gets lost, and a fraudulent-website blocker.

The malware scanner updates its definitions either daily, weekly, or monthly (based on the update schedule you select), and it scans each app as it’s installed onto your device. You can also manually scan all the files on your phone, though this can take anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes depending on the number of apps and files you’ve stored on your phone’s internal memory or SD card.

On my relatively empty Droid Bionic, I completed a scan in less than 2 minutes, while my Droid Incredible (which is bursting at the seams with apps) took closer to 19 minutes for a complete scan. Unfortunately, unlike other mobile security suites, Trend Micro’s app has no option to automate the process: Whereas on Lookout you can set the app to scan your phone every day, Trend Micro forces you to manually run the app any time you want to check the status of your phone. The process is simple enough, but I hope an update brings automation to the scanning soon.

If you decide to upgrade to the premium version, I think the extra features are well worth the price.

My favorite premium feature in Trend Micro Mobile Security is the option to block annoying calls and text messages. This option lets you filter calls and texts based on the number, or (in the case of text messages) on certain keywords. If you are someone who suffers from constant calls from unknown numbers, you can create a filter that allows only people in your Address Book or text/call history to contact you. It’s really handy for stopping those irritating telemarketing calls or spam texts.

While the free scanner protects your phone from dangerous apps, the safe-surfing feature in the premium version protects you from dangerous websites. You have three levels of protection to choose from (Low, Normal, High), and you can change the level at any time. I would recommend that users stay on the Normal or High settings, as the Low setting may leave you open to certain phishing attacks.

If you have kids (or employees that you don’t want going to certain sites), you can enable Parental Controls and limit the websites that they can access. In order to enable or remove the parental locks, you’ll need your Trend Micro password (the same one you used to register the app when you first install it). If someone tries to access a blocked site while the controls are in place, they’ll be greeted with a screen telling you that the site was blocked by parental controls.

If you’re always losing your phone, Trend Micro’s ability to remotely locate your smartphone will be a godsend. As with Webroot and Lookout, you use a Web portal to activate the tracking functions of the app. From there, you can locate your phone, have it display a custom message on the screen, make it scream, lock the device, or wipe all the information off of it. You can manage multiple devices from within the portal, but unfortunately you’re going to need to buy a separate license for each one.

In my tests, the locate function was inconsistent. One second, it was able to locate me with no problem, but when I tried locating the phone a second time, the app reported the phone three miles away from its actual location.

Overall, the app gets the job done and will give you the peace of mind that your phone is being protected, even if you don’t think you need it. While the cost of a one-year Trend Micro license may put some people off, the extra security options are worth the $30. At the very least, you should give the free malware scanner a try–it’s better to set up precautions and not have to use them than to be caught without them when you need them most.

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