By Bernd Reder
There’s a bevy of IT managers who probably yearn for the good old days, when they decided which cell phones and notebooks employees could use and which applications could be installed on them.
This isn’t today’s reality. Employees now expect to be able to use whichever device they want, whether it’s a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android-based device. Neither do employees want to be told they can only use the company’s “sluggish” laptop, instead of their own high-end notebooks.
According to a 2010 Unisys- IDC survey , employees of American companies, on average, use four to five consumer devices at work. For example, employees typically use a cell phone, a tablet PC (like Apple’s iPad), notebooks, USB drives and external hard drives. A staggering 95 percent of the surveyed employees said that they were using a device at work, which they had bought themselves.
Bottom-up, not Top-down
The “top-down” IT approach starts to take a back seat as the “bottom-up” approach becomes increasinglypopular. In the old “top-down” approach, the company prescribes which systems are to be used, whereas in the “bottom-up” approach, it is the employees who decide which systems suit their needs. The IT department then has to “miraculously” transfer companyapplications and data onto the employee’s preferred system.
So what does this mean for IT departments? Many IT managers don’t trust this development. They are afraidof losing control over their IT environment, which could lead to security problems and compliance risks.
Of course, managing the IT environment becomes more complicated when users bring in their own devices.This is especially true for mobile systems like smartphones and tablet PCs. However, there are also upsides to thissystem: employees are more content, they work more productively because they are allowed to use the systems they are used to, and theyrelieve the IT budget, if they pay at least part of the procurement costs for hardware and software.
A Problem that is None
However, a closer look at the security and compliance problems with personal IT devices actually shows that there are none! Having said that, it’s still important for companies to include personal mobile devices in their IT systems when these devices are also being used for business. Companies like Good Technology, Microsoft and Mobile Iron provide solutions for efficient Mobile Device Management (MDM).
The second central aspect is to secure access from mobile devices onto data and applications within the corporate network. NCP engineering* for example, offers a technology solution that can be easily integrated into the corporate network and onto mobile devices of all kinds. With solutions like this, consumerization becomes much safer to implement. And employees will be able to work more efficiently and effectively.
*NCP engineering manages VPN Haus.