It seems like 2012 is certainly the year that the Enterprise will be dealing with mobile devices on a very large scale. There are seemingly endless discussions regarding all of the new services that have popped up over the past couple of years (over 70 companies now self identifying as Mobile Device Management – MDM providers). Unfortunately, it appears the marketing hype has caused more confusion than solutions. To that end, I am beginning a new series on the “Fundamentals of Enterprise Mobility Management”. Instead of doing extensive product or service reviews, this series will focus on the Enterprise and the challenges of mobile devices (tablets and phones) from both a Corporate Provided and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) perspective. I have a rough outline for the series, but please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email if there is a particular aspect I have overlooked or you think should be covered next. Let’s get started.
Introduction (and a little historical perspective)
Over the past 5 years we have seen significant changes in the consumer market with respect to mobile devices. Prior to this time, “Smart” phones were relatively expensive and therefore typically used by employees who received them from their employers. In the past, IT organizations would evaluate various new technologies and carefully plan rollout plans for deploying and managing new technologies.
Based on a recent survey done by comScore, 60% of all people in the US purchasing phones are choosing a smartphone. It is easy to see why the Enterprise is now being flooded with requests by employees to access corporate resources using their new devices (smartphones and tablets). Furthermore, employees are requesting tools optimized for their mobile platforms to gain more efficient access to corporate resources. Many Enterprises are trying to use their old approaches to address this issue. They think they can simply evaluate each of the new mobile devices being presented and develop rollout plans for each “supported” device as they gain confidence in their ability to manage and secure each physical device. This approach was relatively effective during a time when the corporation would select a couple of preferred vendors providing PC based products with multi-year life cycles. There are three major differences with the introduction of the mobile platform:
- The consumer/employee is often the purchaser of the device (they want the latest NOW)
- The life cycle of a single mobile platform is one year (or less)
- The consumer/employee is selecting their own device, creating the potential for dozens of vendors
With these major differences, the Enterprise needs to recognize that the old approach of tackling and approving individual devices after first determining how to secure and a manage each device is no longer a viable approach. This approach has caused great division between the employees and the IT and corporate management. The results can be quite devastating:
- Employees presented with burdensome controls on their mobile devices often choose to remove the IT installed management applications
- Employees will often pool together to identify ways to circumvent corporate policies to gain access to corporate resources
- Corporate private information will often be intentionally or unintentionally placed onto public services to gain access to non-secured devices
- Employees will adopt a perception of “them vs us” regarding corporate IT – leaving a general morale issue due to corporate slowness in adopting new technology
The Wrong Question
It is critically important for the Enterprise to recognize that the issue isn’t one of determining how to secure and manage the DEVICE. In many cases the Enterprise doesn’t own the device and the user/consumer will be using it for many activities including non-work functions. So if that is the wrong question, what is the RIGHT question?
We will begin to explore the RIGHT question in part 2!