Mobile Computing and Mitigating Risk

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The State of the Consumerization of IT

Study finds that usage of personally owned devices is growing, but they're still pretty much used to augment traditional PC usage.

As it becomes clearer that mobile computing and the cloud are two ends of the same spectrum, IT organizations are increasingly coupling these technologies. Most IT organizations have little experience with creating mobile applications that need to be constantly updated. By developing and then hosting them in the cloud, IT organizations can not only minimize the risks associated with developing these applications, they can also more easily introduce new agile development methodologies.

To address the specific challenge, IBM recently moved to acquire Worklight, a provider of application development tools that allow IT organizations to create these applications and offers tools for managing them. At the same time, IBM also announced that its BigFix managed services platform includes support for a range of tablet PC devices in addition to smartphones.

According to Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Tivoli, IBM is trying to put an end-to-end mobile computing framework in place that spans everything from internal IT systems to the cloud and back again. Increasingly, says Hebner, it clear that mobile computing applications are one of the dominant classes of cloud computing applications. It's also clear, adds Hebner, many IT organizations don't really have an effective way to manage those applications and the devices on which they run.

It is important for IT organizations to start thinking these issues through now, says Hebner, because thanks to the "consumerization" of IT, many of these devices are already being brought into the enterprise by employees. Rather than continuing to drive usage of those devices underground, Hebner says IT organizations would be better off putting a framework in place that allows these devices to be managed in a way the conforms with IT policies and corporate compliance requirements.

Whether they are acquired by the company or brought to work by employees, it's clear that mobile computing devices are increasingly becoming the preferred way that end users want to interact with information. IT organizations may find that behavior risky. But the reality of the situation is that with or without IT support, those devices are being used, which means the better part of IT valor now is to try and mitigate a risk that is already being taken.

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