A growing problem for IT managers is finding the right mobile device for workers that will keep corporate data secure.
Scott Dillon, manager of global IT infrastructure support at SanDisk, said this week that he has grappled with the problems of worker mobility and has hit on a solution that works well and is popular with users.
SanDisk has deployed about 170 Palm smart phones that provide cellular voice connectivity, e-mail and contact data using GoodLink software from Good Technology. The rollout has so far cost about US$150,000 and is improving personal productivity, Dillon said. "The masses here have adopted it, and people say they can't go a day or even a couple of hours without the smart phones," he said.
SanDisk uses T-Mobile USA as its cellular network provider.
The technology works for companies that don't want to devise their own security software for mobile workers and rely instead on third parties such as Good Technology or Research In Motion (RIM), which makes BlackBerry handhelds, Dillon said. "We had no resources in-house to do all that's required to ensure a message is delivered," he said.
SanDisk turned to Good Technology because that company supports a range of handheld devices, including Palm's Treo 600 and 650 smart phones. The Treo was a good choice, Dillon said, because of its ability to work well with SanDisk products such as SD Cards and MultiMediaCards, which are inserted into a slot on the Treo machines. The cards can carry executives' presentations or other data and can be used to back up e-mail on the Treos.
In contrast, BlackBerry devices don't support the SanDisk cards -- although Dillon said he has been told that they may do so in the future. "I didn't want my SanDisk executives walking into a meeting that didn't take a card of ours," Dillon said.
Using a Treo also means workers don't need to carry a laptop or cell phone on a business trip.
Kevin Burden, an analyst at IDC, said Good and RIM have emerged as the top secure mobile e-mail providers, although Microsoft is enabling its Exchange servers for similar capability.