Managing Construction Devices and Apps to Keep Your Team Growing
Mobile devices go far beyond smartphones and tablets, and that’s even true in the modern construction industry. From wearable safety sensors to augmented reality glasses, there are hundreds of different ways to implement portable and powerful technology into the daily workflow of your construction team. Nevertheless, to improve the productivity and performance of employees, mobile construction technology must be managed with care and expertise, especially during the introductory period.
Not sure where to start or what to address with your mobile device management (MDM) plan? Our in-depth ebook, “How to Manage Devices and Apps for a Growing Construction Team,” is a great introduction to the topic. In it, we explore the challenges of mobile device management in construction and how to overcome them.
Our ebook will address common questions and concerns IT teams have when starting up a mobile management program, including:
Choosing Between BYOD vs. Employer-Supplied Equipment
One of the first questions to answer when planning a new mobile technology initiative regards responsibility for supplying the necessary devices. The two primary options are the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) model and the employer-supply agreement. Each approach offers a different mix of benefits and drawbacks.
In this model, employees either use their existing personal devices or purchase separate work devices, if they prefer. They also are usually responsible for paying for their own service plans, repairs and replacement of damaged equipment.
Pros: BYOD allows the employer to save potentially over $1000 per employee. With BYOD, employees choose devices they already know how to use and companies can peripherally benefit as employees voluntary upgrade to cutting-edge mobile technology over time.
Cons: Since the responsibility falls on the employee, there might be a lack of consistency with coverage from some service providers. There may also be extra work in finding apps and software that works with as many different operating systems as possible and there are increased risks of data leaks due to personal use.
When the employer purchases and supplies mobile equipment for staff, they often also cover any related service costs and all repair and replacement needs. However, these devices are tightly controlled and are only accessible at work and during business hours in most cases.
Pros: This option provides uniform performance for access and training requirements, increases adoption of technology from employees who don’t want to spend personal money on technology and there is no need to erase an employee’s personal data along with work materials after a major security breach.
Cons: However, with employer-supplied device program there are higher equipment and service costs, extra training is required to make sure everyone knows how to use the same devices and secure storage is needed for devices not taken home by employees.
A Dual Approach to Security
While a good mobile device security plan certainly begins with the devices, it doesn’t end there. The security of each app, portal or piece of software installed on the device also affects the overall safety of the entire construction business network. When choosing a new app to expand your team’s toolkit, a full investigation is necessary to verify it won’t create a weak link in the security chain. Security certifications verified by a third party, such as the SOC1 and SOC2 audits from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, can greatly speed up the process of verifying an app.
Pairing a secure mobile device with properly designed apps reduces your company’s risk of a major data loss as much as possible. App features like single sign-on (SSO) support and extensive integration options hint at a strong focus on security but don’t even test an app out without verifying the details first.
Single Login for Simple Enrollment
Well-crafted mobile device management plans aren’t complete unless they include arrangements to make adoption of the new technology as painless as possible. In addition to using the ever-popular BYOD plan, a construction company can also invest in an SSO program to cut down on unnecessary digital work. When an employee logs in for the first time onto the device each day, they’re automatically also able to access any SSO-enabled apps without dealing with login boxes and dozens of different passwords. By making the entire process of using mobile construction technology as easy as possible, you’ll find that the majority of your employees will be eager to give it a try.
5 Pro Tips for Mobile Device Management in Construction
For a full rundown on what to include in an MDM plan, you’ll have to read our ebook. However, here are five quick tips to get a head start on brainstorming a set of consistent device policies.
- Focus on offering support and device configuration remotely via the web rather than in person. If you’re going to commit to the use of mobile technology in your construction business, you’re missing out on the best value of the equipment if it leads to more time spent in the IT office.
- Separate work and personal data on each employee’s mobile devices. This can be done by either requiring separate equipment or with secure partitioning and role control software. Employees shouldn’t be able to access their personal data or apps while also using work-related ones due to the much more relaxed security standards followed by some consumer software.
- Protect your employee’s privacy as much as your company’s data. While an employee’s lost tablet can result in stolen data, exposing their data by accident could land the company in hot water. You also need to address how you’ll protect employee information in your MDM, especially if you choose a BYOD policy.
- Set up a schedule for routinely checking all devices for compliance. It’s not enough to check once after the initial installation and hope that employees are keeping up with updates, patches, uninstallation requirements and more. Quality MDM software automates the installation of new software or updates and also handles remote uninstallation, allowing you to stretch out the intervals between device checks.
- Audit the MDM policy itself every few years. Mobile technology changes and grows rapidly, so you can’t rely on an outdated policy and expect good results going into the future.
Improving Mobile Device Management in Construction Through PlanGrid
PlanGrid is an ideal solution for improving your current mobile device management plan. The app’s powerful security features, such as iron-clad user roles and automatic scanning for vulnerabilities, protect the devices running it from all kinds of threats. With both SSO support and plenty of integration options with the most popular MDM suites and other construction software options, data moves seamlessly between formats with high-level encryption protecting the data at all times.
Wondering how to build a mobile device management plan around PlanGrid and its integrated services? Check out our handy ebook, “How to Manage Devices and Apps for a Growing Construction Team,” for plenty of details on secure device handling for construction firms of all sizes.