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The War Between Mobile Devices and Corporate IT

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Post The War Between Mobile Devices and Corporate IT   Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:16 am

There is a battle going on between corporate IT and end users who want to access corporate data and applications through their personal mobile device. And, overall, it looks like IT is losing both the battle and the war. This is not a new conflict the "Consumerization of IT" has been going on for a number of years. But, until recently IT has held the upper hand and been able to simply refuse to share. But the introduction of the iPhone and iPad changed all that.

Traditionally, new technologies have bubbled up from young end users, and IT could resist their demands. But, with iPads and iPhones, the pressure is coming from senior executives, who want to use their new toys to get corporate email, access corporate databases, and enable their corporate applications. And when the CEO wants email on her iPad, it's hard to say no.

A recent tablet and mobile device market research study by Courion, which specializes in access control management, polled 988 IT decision makers at large enterprises (73% of which have more than 1,000 employees) around the world about their security concerns.
Some of the results were shocking.

- More than one-fifth of the participants said their business had no plan to block employee devices from accessing the network.
- Some participants were unsure if their organization even had a network access policy in place.
- 10% were open to data breaches if an end user lost their mobile device.
- 69% have employees using personally-owned mobile devices connect to the corporate network.

Mobility is a core component of any company's productivity strategy. Providing end users the ability to work and have seamless access to business assets from anywhere in the world. But, managing access and simply opening the flood gates are two very different matters.

Dave Fowler, senior vice president of product and marketing for Courion, said in a statement.

"Mobile devices are now accepted as necessary tools for productivity in the enterprise, regardless of how they affect data security. That is the new reality...Companies are scrambling to keep up with the information access vulnerabilities and compliance violations created by mobile devices that access and store confidential information. The right solution can bring the same strength of protection to mobile devices that companies have deployed internally."

In other words, rather than resist attaching these mobile devices to the network, and forcing users to work covertly and with much lower levels of security, IT must embrace this change. It is only when they fully concede the inevitability of mobility, that they will be willing to enable a comprehensive and secure mobile strategy.

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