The increased use of sophisticated mobile devices such as BlackBerrys and other so-called smartphones by top executives is creating a potentially huge data and network security problem for enterprises — one that is being addressed by a new class of products and services aimed at managing high-end handsets, according to the latest report published by Unstrung Enterprise Insider (, a new subscription research service from Light Reading Inc. (

Handset Management: Who’s Minding Your BlackBerry? evaluates the potential costs and benefits of deploying handset-management systems or hosted services to track, upgrade, monitor, and protect high-end mobile handsets — even by activating a software “kill pill” to disable smartphones that are reported lost or stolen by users.

The report examines the key management and logistical issues raised by increased use of high-end mobile devices, and it profiles and compares handset-management software and hosted services now available from nine suppliers, including software vendors, hardware suppliers, and wireless network operators such as Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless.

“Handset-management tools frequently include the ability to lock and/or erase a device that’s been lost or stolen,” notes Tim Kridel, research analyst for Unstrung Enterprise Insider and author of the report. “This ‘kill-pill’ feature is a powerful way to reduce risks, such as having confidential information and contacts falling into the wrong hands. Smartphones are typically provided only to top management and executives, so handset- management tools can protect devices that carry the company’s most sensitive information.”

Key findings of the report include:

Although handset-management tools are relatively new in the enterprise space, wireless carriers have used their precursors internally for more than a decade to handle tasks such as issuing lists of roaming partners. This means that the foundation has been laid for handset-management tools that put enterprises in control.

The ability to remotely troubleshoot, configure, and update handsets can improve the bottom line by reducing costs. Particularly among enterprises with employees that travel extensively, the ability to perform these tasks on a handset in the field can avoid $100 or more in lost productivity and shipping costs.

Most handset-management vendors claim that their products work even when roaming or when the device is connected to a low-speed, circuit-switched network. This flexibility is vital for multinational companies. However, CIOs and IT managers are strongly advised to confirm these capabilities, such as by requiring the vendor to demonstrate that its solution has been proven to work on networks that employees frequently use.

Handset Management: Who’s Minding Your BlackBerry?, an 18-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (six issues) to Unstrung Enterprise Insider, priced at $1,295. Individual reports are available for $900.

To subscribe, please visit: For more information about all of Light Reading’s Insider research services, visit:

Launched in February 2006, Unstrung Enterprise Insider tracks, analyzes, and evaluates the key industry and technology developments that will have the biggest impact on the enterprise mobility market — and by extension the entire communications supply chain — in the months and years ahead. This new service offers keen insight into the hot-button issues that will affect enterprise deployment of enterprise mobility products and services, including:

* Next-gen mobile telecom and computing devices and their impact on
enterprise networks
* Critical mobility applications, including VOIP
* Security issues — and solutions — affecting corporate mobility
* Convergence of fixed and mobile communications in enterprise nets
* Detailed cost-of-ownership analyses that offer a much-needed reality
check for enterprise decision makers