3 Tips for Managing an Explosion of Personal Communication Devices

One of the things I'm working on at the moment is a customer event around the subject of 'device explosion' that is, the explosion in the number of personal communication devices that people use for work and the challenges this gives for support and governance/risk/compliance. More on this in another post.

Then I took a moment to look around my house and think about the number of devices I and my family use and the support issues this causes me in my role as unpaid & unthanked tech support guy for home. I guess a number of readers also fulfill this role at home...

I'm also unpaid tech support for my wife's business which she runs from home. Her people are into cooking, not computers and have an in-built aversion to reading instructions.

A brief count-up got me to 5 x iPhones, 1 x iPad, 8 macs (desktop and laptops), 1 x win7 PC, NAS and OSX servers, 3 printers, various nintendos, Sony Playstations etc. Then I have to support an e-commerce site, various blogs, email, intranet etc. and, quite often, the PCs of anyone my wife works with.

I simply don't have the time to support most of this stuff. So, how do I cope?

First, I ruthlessly lock down any device I can. I'm the only one with admin access. Yes, this is a risk so the password and access details are in a document that is to be opened only in emergency. Yes, this means that I frequently get requests to install Apps on Iphones and Macs, but at least I know what's being put on them.

Second, outsource everything possible if there's an appropriate Sevice Level Agreement and support. All of the external facing services are hosted in the Cloud with a support contract.

Third, minimise the amount of data on each device to guard against data loss. All mail is on IMAP servers or hotmail (which you can setup as Exchange ActiveSync on your smartphone), all user data is on a central server which backs up every 20 minutes and offsite once a day to a Cloud based backup service (yes, I'm paranoid about data loss, and especially the hours/days it takes to recover). All user accounts are network accounts so the data is held on the server and backed-up from there.

I'd be interested in the experiences and wisdom of others in your unpaid support roles and also what lessons for enterprises come from our personal experiences, so please comment.

And you, what do you think?

Peter Glock

Photo: Arun Kulshreshtha

Peter Glock

With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.