The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost pediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading center dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centered care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system.
SickKids had a traditional approach to mobile devices. It supported BlackBerry for email access and used the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to manage and secure the devices. Over time, however, there were several factors that made the IT group consider the need for a broader enterprise mobility program. The first was a growing demand for devices other than the BlackBerry and a specific request for the iPhone. The second was that Apple appeared to be increasing the enterprise security features of iOS. The third was the appeal of enabling employees to bring their own devices to work,reducing capital expenditures and providing connectivity to a group of workers who had not had it before.
The IT team, led by Xanthos Charalambous, began their research into mobile device management options and put together a plan. The primary use was for email. The top concerns were security and compliance. SickKids needed a mobile device management solution that could enhance the current iOS functionality and add the missing capabilities, delivering BES-like connectivity and security for the iPhone. The concerns around security also dictated the rollout strategy: the team would get the infrastructure in place prior to rolling out iPhone management and support.
After evaluating several vendors, SickKids selected the MobileIron Core based on several features. “MobileIron met the basic security requirements, such as remote lock and wipe and required passwords,” said Xanthos Charalambous, Senior Systems Analyst, SickKids. “Also, the MobileIron Core can be virtualized, so we were able to leverage our existing investments in virtualization technology." SickKids was able to centralize the management of all mobile devices on one console and integrate in real-time with ActiveSync.
“We knew we needed to deal with iOS now but could see WebOS and Android on the horizon,” said Charalambous.“Keeping an eye on the future while building a mobile device management and security foundation, we knew we wanted capabilities such as Mobile Activity Intelligence (MAI) even if we were not deploying it immediately.”
The pilot turned out to be extraordinarily well timed. Just as SickKids was getting ready to launch the pilot, in June 2009, Apple released the iPhone 3GS in Canada, delivering the necessary native encryption to help address the compliance concerns, and everything fell in line, according to Charalambous. With the MobileIron Core in place, SickKids also h ad the infrastructure to support the iPhone 4 and then the iPad.
The rollout was accomplished entirely through user self service. IT did not have to do any hands-on activation for end-users. Currently, most of the iOS devices under management are employee-owned and, as long as they meet security criteria, including password and encryption, they are configured and managed the same as corporate-owned devices.
“The self-service aspect of MobileIron gives users a sense of involvement in the process,” said Charalambous. “We’re seeing people learn to use their devices better. People who would never have brought in their devices are now connecting to the network themselves.”
As SickKids looks ahead to mobile enterprise apps, it plans to master the basics of device management and security, then offer more. MobileIron Core offers a sustainable infrastructure that covers its current needs and can be expanded in the future.