Verizon partners with BoxTone on mobile management

Some enterprises will be able to pay for BoxTone's mobile device management software on their Verizon bills

Verizon Wireless on Monday said it is now offering enterprises BoxTone's mobile device management software, allowing some customers to pay for the software on their Verizon Wireless bills.

BoxTone offers mobile device management software as well as an automated service desk product and compliance tools.

BoxTone's software lets IT administrators remotely monitor the health of phones in the enterprise. They can look up the real-time status of a phone, see what applications are running on it, monitor the connection between the phone and the enterprise, check on the wireless connection and see other performance metrics, said Brian Reed, chief marketing officer for BoxTone.

BoxTone also offers software that IT administrators can use to serve as a help desk for employees. "It's hopeless to expect a junior IT person to support hundreds of devices. You'd never be able to train all your people to support all these different devices," he said. Last week, BoxTone released a new version of the product that lets IT staff access compliance information from the service desk console.

The support feature is one that BoxTone argues many mobile-device-management service providers ignore. "They're missing the fact that it's not 'set it and forget it.' Once you have 90 percent of employees using mobile devices, they will call your help desk," he said.

With the service desk console, an IT person can look up an employee who calls for help and see what kind of phone the worker has. The IT person will be able to see when it's not configured correctly, which would explain why the caller isn't receiving voice mail, for example. IT administrators can remotely repair the issue.

The new version of BoxTone also adds a compliance engine that monitors for risk and enforces corrections so users stay in compliance. The software integrates with existing IT policy management software and Active Directory, so IT workers don't have to treat mobile like a separate system.

For instance, when an employee quits, the IT department should cut off the employee's remote access to corporate data. With the new version of BoxTone, "when you cut off all user access, it propagates out to the mobile device and makes sure the mobile device is cut off and company data is wiped," Reed said.

Without a product like BoxTone, cutting off that employee's mobile device would require an IT administrator to log into a separate system and manually make the permission changes.

Enterprises can opt to use individual components of BoxTone's offerings, including the mobile device management software, the help desk capabilities or the compliance tools.

In a statement, Verizon said that as enterprises start using more mobile phones and from a variety of vendors, they must be able to control the devices and BoxTone can help them do that. Some enterprises will be eligible to add BoxTone's software license cost to their Verizon Wireless bill, it said.

IT managers are increasingly looking for ways to manage both the growing number of phones in the enterprise and the different kinds of devices employees are using. "It used to be 10 or 20 percent used phones and they were BlackBerrys," said Reed. "Now there are 100 different kinds of devices with a half a dozen mobile operating systems connecting to the enterprise."

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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