Given the simple fact that mobile computing devices of all types are going to find their way into the enterprise one way or another, IT organizations should probably be spending more time trying to define the terms under which that will happen as opposed to trying to prevent.
The new mobile computing reality, says Weston Morris, end-user productivity services architect for Unisys Global Managed Services, is that as part of the consumerization of IT trend, more employees in 2012 will be bringing their own devices (BYOD) into the office. The IT staff may want to prevent those employees from connecting to the corporate network, but one way or another corporate data is going to wind up on these devices. In fact, as part of an effort to reduce IT costs, many organizations are encouraging employees to buy their IT equipment instead of requiring the company to allocate money to fund the acquisition of a mobile computing device.
The best course of action, says Morris, is to start putting the systems in place today. The technology exists today that allows IT organizations to immediately recognize that a device has connected to the corporate network and apply the appropriate polices. Of course, acquiring the appropriate networking and security technologies to make that happen takes time and money. Chances are that in early 2012 most IT organizations are still formulating their approaches to supporting employee-owned mobile computing devices.
As part of those efforts, Morris says IT organizations really need to think through how they will support those devices, to what degree they will manage them, what access rights will be granted and how compliant these devices are with any number of regulations.
Ultimately, mobile computing devices are making the management of IT a more complex endeavor. A lot of IT organizations will naturally want to resist adding more complexity into an already delicate mobile computing support situation. But given the sure volume of interest in all-things mobile, the better part of IT valor is going to be to embrace and contain rather than evade and ignore.