Leeds City Council has selected MobileIron to help secure both the corporate and employee-owned mobile devices used by its staff.
The authority supplied council-owned mobile devices to over 6,000 of its staff, 800 of which are Windows smartphones. It initially tried using Microsoft's own Activesync software to protect and manage its mobile devices, but decided that the solution did not offer the right level of security.
"We determined that it didn't offer the level of visibility or security that we needed to manage a broad estate of devices and a potentially broad estate of applications going forward," said Marcus Hunter, strategic services manager for Leed City Council.
Hunter added that as the organisation moved towards Android as the preferred mobile operating system, the opportunity was there to revise its mobile strategy and deploy a mobile device management (MDM) solution.
"We also wanted to adopt a mature smartphone platform for the corporate environment, and began assessing Android as the operating system (OS) of choice," he said. "We embarked on a project to refresh our entire enterprise mobility strategy, and a secure MDM needed to be at the heart of this."
The council recognised the reality of bring your own device (BYOD) within the authority, with many employees using their own devices at least some of the time for work. It took the decision to enable the business use of personal devices, reducing the costs of maintaining corporate equipment.
Hunter said that a range of MDM solutions were tested, with the ability to manage and secure multiple platforms being a key requirement.
"We conducted trials on each of the MDM platforms and found individual strengths in encryption or heightened support for one particular OS," he said.
"However, as we move towards iOS, Android and everything in between, we needed a platform that could support and secure a truly mixed mobile estate without adding complexity."
Leeds council is now exploring the possibilities of developing its own internal app store, with a view to offering specialist third-party apps to its housing and highways teams.
Local government organisations are increasingly looking to BYOD for cost savings and productivity improvements.
Last year, Surrey County Council deployed PlayBook tablets from RIM to some staff, citing the device's speed and simplicity as advantages.