Still Room for the PC in a Mobile World

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Eight Layers of Security Every Computer Should Have

From using the latest version of your favorite browser to ensuring that your network has monitoring tools in place that send up red flags when they see unusual behaviors, be protected.

However much the enterprise industry has been buzzing about mobile computing and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, it's becoming increasingly clear that these new technologies will only take over a few of the many roles that have long been the domain of the trusty PC.

Data communication is a key example, and this includes much of the social media functions that emerged largely in step with handheld platforms and have tailored themselves for the mobile set. But many of the vital production and processing functions like document prep and database applications can only be effectively handled by a robust desktop infrastructure.

For this, though, you'll need a more powerful PC, which is why we're seeing upgrades across the board - from the processor to the finished system. Intel, for example, just kicked off the new Ivy Bridge processor, a 22 nm quad-core device that relies on the three-dimensional Tri-Gate architecture that promises higher performance levels and lower power consumption. It's interesting to note that future versions of the chip will target notebook and mobile markets, but the first iteration will tackle high-end desktops that can better take advantage of the chip's superior graphics capabilities.

As for new workstations, Dell just released the Precision line aimed at professional, data-intensive functions like engineering and architecture. The four platforms in the line feature touches like increased accessibility of USB 3.0 ports to make it easier to attach externals, plus generous use of Nvidia graphics processors for 3D and rich media applications. Top-level models, like the T7600, include plug-and-play internal drives to help facilitate video and graphics production.

The ongoing health of the PC market is also revealed in the strength of the PC operating system, which is another way of saying Windows. Microsoft says sales of the OS rose 4 percent in the third quarter, contributing nearly $1 billion to Redmond's bottom line. This caught many analysts off guard as they were expecting a gradual erosion of Microsoft's position in the enterprise following the onslaught of mobile systems like iOS, Android. The fact that enterprises are not only preserving but enhancing their desktop infrastructure indicates strong belief in stationary client-side access going forward.

At the same time, many organizations are finding that integration of mobile technology into legacy infrastructure faces hurdles on a number of fronts, not all of them technical. Security has long been a top concern, but so are issues like OS management. In the desktop world, a single OS is a given, but with users bringing a range of mobile platforms into the fold, organizations will find it difficult enough to manage them all, let alone integrate them. And few people are even thinking about the legal and regulatory ramifications of mobile infrastructure as it relates to things like discovery, licensing and ownership/liability, particularly as the devices themselves cross jurisdictions.

There's no use pining for the good old days when data and resources were comfortably tucked behind the corporate firewall, however. Data flexibility is the order of the day and that means giving up some control in exchange for more efficient and effective use of resources. And for many applications, that means continued reliance on the PC as a driver of individual productivity.