How IT Pros Can Manage the iPad and Tablet Influx
Tablets are quickly becoming the hot thing for both personal and professional use. In fact, Apple iPad adoption rate has surpassed both the original iPhone in 2007 and the DVD player in 1997, according to Bernstein Research retail analyst Colin McGranahan.
As a result of the iPad’s popularity, major players including Hewlett-Packard and Motorola are planning to release tablet devices in the coming months.
So what does this mean for businesses? A ChangeWave Research study showed that corporate tablet use is expected to double next year, from 7% in 2010 to 14% by 2011. Gartner Research also predicts that by 2014, “90% of organizations will support corporate applications on devices owned by workers.”
Benefits of Employee-Owned Devices
Employee-owned devices encompass all gadgets — including tablets and smart phones — that are used personally, but are also powerful enough for corporate use.
Increases in productivity alone are enough for some corporations to embrace the use of employee-owned devices in the workplace. In fact, according to an iPass survey of 1,100 mobile workers, “employees who use mobile devices for both work and personal issues put in 240 more hours per year than those who do not.”
In addition to improved productivity, employees also gain flexibility in device choice, enabling them to work on the devices that are most comfortable and convenient for them, wherever they are and whatever time of day.
Managing the Tablet and Employee-Owned Device Influx
But, are you prepared to handle the influx of employee-owned devices, and the security and management concerns that accompany them? A Network World article recommends managing mobile devices in a similar way as other corporate IT assets – through smart management of use, configuration and security.
Through desktop virtualization, you can enhance device security and simplify IT management. With it, your IT team can centrally manage and deliver corporate applications and desktops on employee-owned devices, without having to manage each device individually.
However, according to a CIO article, “security requires more than just virtualization. It requires limits on the kind of information end users can download to insecure devices, what they can do with that data, and where it can go.”
This often will involve the use of a mobile management platform or solution. For example, Airwatch and BoxTone allow IT managers to create separate profiles for employee- and company-owned devices, separate personal and corporate data, and remotely configure VPN, WiFi and other critical settings.
But, it also will require that the devices in use are able to meet the security needs of your corporate data. For more information on the security capabilities of seven popular mobile platforms (including Apple iOS) and whether they can adequately protect routine, important, sensitive and top-secret business information, check out InfoWorld’s mobile management whitepaper.
On the management side, it’s also important to consider how employee-owned devices will be financed. In its whitepaper, InfoWorld recommends considering how the device will be used — based on factors such as: employee time away from desk, sensitive data access, etc. — before settling on a strategy. From there, you can determine whether a subsidized or organization-wide plan makes the most sense.
The trend toward employee-owned devices in the workplace is likely to continue, as more employees access corporate data from their personal devices, regardless of whether they have permission.
How is your company preparing for and responding to the influx of employee-owned devices into the workplace? What challenges are you facing with integrating smart phones, tablets and mobile devices into your existing infrastructure? How are you overcoming them?
Ira Grossman, Group President, Personal Systems Group, has more than 15 years of technology project management and supply chain experience. Connect with Ira on LinkedIn.
Image Credit: Yutaka Tsutano
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