What the Apple iPad 2 Means to IT

Michael Vizard

Now that the Apple iPad 2 is winging its way to an end user near you any day now, it's only a matter of time before IT organizations are dealing with the fallout from this event one way or another.


Given that reality, a short list of things complied by the folks at Fiberlink, provider of the MaaS 360 mobile device management service, gives IT organizations some things to think about between now and when the Apple iPad 2 ships next week. Those items include:

  • A Dramatic Proliferation of Apple iPads: The implications of the availability of the Apple iPad 2 go beyond the second generation of the platform. Already, droves of Apple fans are planning on selling their existing Apple iPads at a cut rate price on sites such as eBay. So chances are for every new Apple iPad 2 owner, somewhere there is going to be a new owner of the first-generation Apple iPad. Many of them will be further down the corporate ladder than the first owners of these devices, but they will still be clamoring for access to the same IT services.
  • Smaller and Thinner Means Easier to Lose: Most IT organizations are overly focused on mobile computing security, when in reality the biggest problem is going to be the amount of data lost every time an Apple iPad is lost or stolen. Tools that can remotely lock these devices and wipe the data off them are going to be critical.
  • FaceTime Traffic on the Corporate Network: More Apple iPad users will try to make the case that FaceTime videoconferencing is a critical business application, regardless of what that does to the network.
  • The Unintended Hot Spot: The upcoming version of iOS 4.3 allows Apple devices to automatically become a Wi-Fi hot spot, so beware of any unexpected surge in charges associated with a sudden increase in data traffic.
  • Eleven Days to Prepare: The Apple iPad 2 starts shipping on March 11th, so the amount of time the IT organization has to create an actual plan is virtually nil. Chalk that one up to Apple's penchant for secrecy.

Chris Corbet, a product manager at Fiberlink who outlines the mobile device management issues facing IT organizations in a blog post here, says the Apple iPad 2 is going to significantly accelerate the bring-your-own-technology trend in a way that will challenge most of the existing policies and procedures that companies have in place today. The "onesey-twosey" approach to mobile device management that most companies have taken towards tablets and other devices isn't going to cut it anymore. In fact, the whole standards approach to mobile computing devices is falling apart with each passing day as Apple and Google Android devices gain in popularity.

The challenge that IT organizations are going to have to ultimately address is how to regain control of the IT environment when everyone has a different notebook, tablet and smartphone that all need to be supported by IT.

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