The Great Debate UK

The consumerisation of IT


By Mike Oliver. The opinions expressed are his own.

Whether the corporate IT world is ready or not, a growing number of employees now use a variety of mobile devices to access and carry corporate data. Powerful smartphones are becoming omnipresent – led by the universally enticing iPhone, while tablets such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Research in Motion (RIM) Playbook are set to make major inroads this year.

Mobile devices can transform almost any business for the better as increased productivity across the organisation leads to higher revenues and happier employees. And, of course, companies that have high morale find it easier to recruit and retain high-value employees. But it also raises very important questions around security and what IT departments need to do to keep information safe. Securing the entire mobile estate — both corporate and personal devices — will be imperative for businesses in 2011 and beyond.

Mobile devices are an easy target for theft, putting corporate information at risk and organisations therefore need to ramp up security. Departments need to keep a close account of these devices, particularly who is using them and for what purposes. A mobile governance policy can be used to codify rules and regulations, such as how often users must change their passwords and the software that needs to be installed on each device. This provides the framework to secure both network traffic and sensitive internal data.

But governance does nothing to reduce the growing burden on resource-challenged IT departments to administer mobile devices. Fortunately, a proven mobility management platform excels at solving these problems without overtaxing IT resources – even for companies experiencing fast smartphone growth. A comprehensive device management and security solution should be at the heart of any business’ mobility strategy and will have an immediate impact on the operations of a company.