Bird & Bird is an international law firm with more than 1100 legal advisors, has 23 offices across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and clients based in 118 countries worldwide. Organised around key sectors since 1998, Bird & Bird provides world leading expertise in markets where technology, regulation, and intangible assets are driving change.

As part of its proactive approach towards deploying iPads, Bird & Bird worked with its technology partner, Mobliciti, to implement the MobileIron Platform. Bird & Bird now uses MobileIron to manage corporate-issued and employee-owned iOS and Android devices across nine offices throughout Europe and Scandinavia. Thanks to MobileIron, the firm’s IT staff maintains a centralised view of all the mobile devices that partners are using to access the corporate network, and can wipe data from lost or stolen devices by logging onto MobileIron through any web browser.

International Firm Focuses on Partner Productivity

While many CIOs were adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude towards mobile devices in the workplace, Bird & Bird’s IT team recognized the immediate need for its partners to have the most powerful and user-friendly computing technology at their fingertips no matter where they are.

But before Bird & Bird could deploy any devices, the firm’s IT staff realized they would need a reliable way of ensuring that sensitive data on iPads wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. “We wanted to get out in front of this technical challenge by putting secure devices directly into the hands of our partners,” explains Jon Spencer, Infrastructure Manager, Bird & Bird. “The question was, what’s the best way to do that?”

Boosting security without disrupting iOS end users

Although Bird & Bird was already using Good Technology to secure some of its non-BlackBerry devices, the firm wanted to perform due diligence before selecting a platform to manage its iPad devices. Spencer turned to Bird & Bird's technology partner, Mobliciti, for advice. Based on Mobliciti's recommendations, Bird & Bird decided to evaluate MobileIron alongside Good Technology and another leading solution. The choice soon became clear.

“Most of our users didn’t like the sandbox approach,” says Spencer. “We chose MobileIron because it doesn’t affect the user experience or the native look of the iOS client.”

Bird & Bird ran a 30-day trial to confirm its decision, then called on Mobliciti to implement MobileIron in early 2011. “The whole process with Mobliciti went extremely smoothly,” Spencer recalls. “It was easy to get help whenever we needed it—either remotely or onsite. Their support is excellent.”

IT staff wipes data from lost devices - anywhere, anytime

Today, all of Bird & Bird’s London-based partners use corporate-issued iPads secured by MobileIron. They appreciate being able to answer email and record time on the go, and to access the firm’s documents securely via Citrix integration. Meanwhile, the firm’s IT staff can keep track of these devices through an intuitive control panel.

“The greatest benefit of MobileIron is the control we've gained over our corporate issued devices," says Spencer. "Although it's possible to establish basic control of devices with Microsoft ActiveSync, MobileIron gives us deep visibility into where our devices are and what they're doing. That's extremely valuable to us.”

As Bird & Bird issues iPads to its partners, the firm can rest assured that its sensitive data won’t fall into the wrong hands. “If a device is lost or stolen, our IT team can simply log onto MobileIron through a browser to wipe the data and disable the device,” says Spencer. “I wiped a handset just last week while I was working from home.”

Global firm maintains centralised control over devices

Buoyed by its early success with MobileIron in London, Bird & Bird’s IT team has since deployed additional MobileIron servers in Dusseldorf, Stockholm, and Paris. All in all, the firm now uses MobileIron to manage both corporate-issued and employee-owned iOS and Android mobile devices for partners in nine offices across Europe and Scandinavia.

“Regardless of how far we decide to extend our mobile program, we know MobileIron can support our needs,” concludes Spencer. “We’re also excited about the possibility of using MobileIron to push out mobile apps to our employees. Having centralised control of our iPads lets us give our partners the freedom to work from anywhere.”

“Having centralised control of our iPads lets us give our partners the freedom to work from anywhere.”