SMB and Consumerization of IT


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As social media becomes an integral part of consumer technology, an increasing number of employees are bringing their personal mobile devices to work, enabling social media and collaboration in the workplace. This concept, known as the consumerization of IT, is changing the way companies do business. It’s also driving the need for mobile device management (MDM).

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SMB and Consumerization of IT

  1. 1. SMB Solution Perspective: MobilitySMBs and theConsumerization of ITAs social media becomes an integral part SMBs in particular are grappling with the increasing prevalence of a mobile workforce, which includes laptop, of consumer technology, an increasing smartphone, and tablet users. This raises a unique set of issues. Challenges such as supporting the sheer number number of employees are bringing their and diversity of mobile devices in the workplace, ensuring personal mobile devices to work, data security and infrastructure integrity, as well as com- bining social media with business processes, all must be enabling social media and collaboration addressed. On the positive side, the consumerization in the workplace. This concept, known of IT allows SMBs to acquire immediate access to innova- tive technology and applications, increased workplaceas the consumerization of IT, is changing collaboration, cost savings, and many other benefits derived from employee-owned devices. the way companies do business. It’s “Employees are excited about the potential of using also driving the need for mobile device their own mobile devices in the workplace,” says Philip Clarke, research analyst at Nemertes Research. However, management (MDM). an increasing number of SMBs understand the need to manage and track the growing proliferation. Recent re- search by Nemertes indicates that SMBs have achieved a high level of success implementing mobile device management. The same goes for the number of SMBs planning future MDM platform implementations. In addition, while 42.9 percent of small businesses employ device-purchasing plans for workers, research shows that the trend is moving toward manager- and Tech Dossier: Mobility
  2. 2. employee-based purchasing choices. Ithas become an accepted fact that bring- Recent research by Nemertes indicates thating your own device to work (BYOD) hasits advantages; user comfort, social me- 23.1 percent of SMBs have already deployeddia access for business tasks, and near24/7 responsiveness all translate to in- MDM platforms to improve IT management.creased user productivity. Research fromNemertes also indicates that 88 percentof employees are permitted personal use range of choices for implementing the to offer business practices that reflect theof a company device. “The expectation specific levels of security a company online reality of today’s consumers. Finally,is that you’re an adult,” says Clarke, “and requires. It allows IT to lock down device resolving various mobile usage issues withthat employees will adhere to corporate functionality, limit access, guard against MDM means that IT can focus on develop-guidelines when using their devices.” security breaches, and protect data. For ing other technologies, such as software users, such restricted usage introduces as a service (SaaS), cloud, and virtualiza- a quid pro quo factor in which most will tion initiatives, which represent the nextSmoothing the accept certain limitations in order to have wave of effective tools and resources for the flexibility of using their own mobile SMBs.Path to Mobility device. It becomes a trade-off between Increasingly, knowledge workers todayThe consumerization of IT also presents feature capability and the fact that IT is al- expect instant online access via the typesSMBs with a range of new issues. The lowing a personal device to be used in the of laptops, smartphones, and tablets theyincreased use of smart devices in the workplace. In terms of restricting certain use outside of work. The IT organization’sworkplace poses significant control and features, such as disabling device cameras, ultimate goal is to harness the trendssupport problems for IT. Data security is a most employees are already aware of behind consumerization that will increasecentral issue because corporate informa- what is permissible activity in their organi- employee engagement and productivitytion can be compromised through lost or zation, especially if it’s within the finance, while alleviating their own tech burden.stolen technology. Mobile devices, espe- healthcare, or government sectors. Approaches such as company-widecially laptops, also increase the possibility blacklisting of social networking sites suchof malware infiltrations and viruses that as Facebook and similar restrictive policiescan quickly spread throughout a network. Benefits Abound for organizations without an MDM systemMoreover, rampant device disorganiza- Although the consumerization of IT poses in place are no longer viable in today’stion requires an already overextended IT significant challenges for corporate lead- business environment.organization to systematize and monitor ers and IT, there are also multiple benefits. Moreover, these kinds of policies canan ever-expanding range of devices. These include accelerated business com- create larger security concerns, because IT organizations have tradition- munications (managing contacts, email, employees will invariably find ways toally dealt with mobile device issues by social media, calendaring, etc.) and Web circumvent them.creating ad hoc security containers. This application access. Also, mobile device As companies seek to bridge the divideis particularly true in the case of cor- owners will often use device vendors between work and home environments,porate-wide BlackBerry use and Black- for support, reducing the pressure on IT. and the various levels of technology foundBerry Enterprise Software (BES) utilized “The cost savings this represents for small there, they need to implement clearlyin conjunction with MDM tools such as enterprises should not be overlooked and articulated technology policies that willthose from Good Technology. Execu- can be substantial,” says Clarke. A technol- support workers while maintaining corpo-tives were the first to bring smartphones ogy refresh, which is the periodic replace- rate security. The consumerization of ITand tablets into the workplace, and their ment and updating of system components has shown how IT departments are at thedevices often contained the most sensi- offered by the consumerization of IT, forefront of creating that bridge. In manytive corporate data. Email leaks, data loss, enables smaller companies to stay current respects, the door has already opened,and lost or stolen devices represented with a constantly changing security land- and mobile device use is a factor in today’sserious security breaches that IT needed scape. It also enables these companies to business environments. “BYOD is happen-to resolve. The introduction of third-party meet the evolving needs of customers and ing,” Clarke says. “It’s going to happen.MDM solutions represented the means for It’s the way of the world.” The challengegaining much-needed device control over now is for IT to become a multiprongedunsecured mobile technology. technology enabler instead of simply a Recent research by Nemertes indicates restrictive support service.that 23.1 percent of SMBs have alreadydeployed MDM platforms to improve IT Learn more at: MDM provides IT with a Tech Dossier: Mobility Tech Dossier: Mobility
  3. 3. ◗ SYNDICATED ARTICLE Google email account and forwards allWarning: Do Not Ignore work email to that account and people have that on their phone when they’re out and about, so it’s a security issue,”ONCE FEARED, THE “CONSUMERIZATION OF IT” MAY PROVIDE THE says Jim R. Henrys, principal strategistFLEXIBILITY TO MEET USER NEEDS AND ORGANISATIONAL GOALS with Intel Corporation.BY PETE BARTOLIK Organizations face the alternative of running around putting out individual security flares, or coming up with a policy that not only accommodates but lever- ages this trend.The days when IT could limit end-user free) apps, and the swapping of photos “It is important to look at how youchoices of devices to one or two options— and other media. According to the Inter- protect data—in flight, at rest and inoften outdated before the evaluation national Telecommunications Union, the use—and create enforceable policies thatprocess concluded—have all but eroded. number of mobile broadband subscrip- spell out where data is kept and how itWhen those workers are able to find rela- tions worldwide surpassed those for is protected,” says Schell. “This is why it’stively low-priced technology that exceeds fixed broadband by the end of 2009. The important to segment your end users,the capabilities of company-sanctioned growing popularity of the tablet and the understand what level of data access isdevices, IT either has to adapt or risk los- anticipated introduction of Ultrabook™ needed, and to put policies and tools ining control of its computing environment. computers seem certain to increase mo- place to help secure their data, no matter It wasn’t that long ago that technology bile computing. where it is stored.”vendors, for the most part, developed prod- “We don’t believe there has been a Many companies, in fact, are realizingucts first for the lucrative business market, wholesale change in the industry—there they can leverage an employee’s devicefollowing up with less robust models tai- has certainly been a shift toward greater to reach organizational goals. Further-lored for tighter budgets in the mass con- mobility, greater data access and devices more, these devices fit well with proactivesumer market. Those days have changed, that can be used for both business and IT strategies to make IT resources avail-probably forever, as that mass market soaks personal computing,” says Kirk Schell, able as on-demand services, rather thanup new smart phones and tablet comput- executive director and general manager as static fixed assets. It’s also important toers as soon as they become available. of Dell’s Business Product Group. “The note that both smart phones and tablets When everyone from the CEO to the biggest area where we see a convergence today serve primarily as complimentaryfront-desk receptionist can go down to a of business and consumer computing devices to traditional notebooks andTesco or Dixons/PC World over the week- and devices—consumerization—is cur- desktops—end users still need theseend and come in to work on Mondaywith a sophisticated mobile device, it putsIT in a bind. They can either dig in their Recent research by Nemertes indicates thatheels and risk further alienating workersand executives, or they can figure out 23.1 percent of SMBs have already deployedhow to turn this trend to their advantage. The fact that this so-called “consum- MDM platforms to improve IT management.erization of IT” has become such a catchphrase this year is itself somewhat surpris-ing. IT analyst groups such as Gartner, Inc., rently in the smart phone market. Many primary computing devices for contenthave been forecasting this trend for sev- of these users can be viewed as a new creation, going beyond simple data ac-eral years. “The growing practice of intro- or emerging segment of ‘prosumers’ and cess and consumption.ducing new technologies into consumer the biggest growth opportunities are with “Smart CIOs are realizing that themarkets prior to industrial markets will be SMBs and the midmarket.” business can take advantage of personalthe most significant trend affecting infor- When a personally-owned device is technology to drive productivity,” saysmation technology (IT) during the next 10 preferred over a work-sanctioned one, Henrys. “All of those great consumer fea-years,” Gartner announced in 2005. workers are going to be tempted to use tures are valuable to business too, such What’s happened in the meantime is that same device for business purposes as ultra mobility and context awareness.the explosion in mobile devices, primarily whether IT approves or not, and that Businesses are now purchasing con-smart phones, that are reasonably priced can create larger problems. “I’ve seen sumer devices for those types of featuresand provide instant access to the Internet examples where the CIO says, ‘You’re not that can be used for applications rangingand its increasingly rich environment going to bring that device and put it on from queue reduction to surveying.” In aincluding social media, low-priced (and my network,’ so the employee creates a bank, for example, clerks equipped with Tech Dossier: Mobility
  4. 4. tablet computers can be sent out to inter- from putting a firewall around things to talented workers.cept customers in a queue and execute putting access controls on individual “That’s why Dell is designing comput-transactions wirelessly; or an architect services,” he says. “Traditionally they ing solutions to make end users moreor surveyor can go out to a job site and would have connected a PC to a net- productive than ever while empoweringtake a photo and superimpose a building work and provided carte blanche access. IT professionals with the tools they needdesign or planned water lines. Now they’re putting access controls on to more efficiently deploy, manage, se- Without doubt, IT has to provide more a service-by-service basis.” For example, cure and support the changing needs offlexibility in supplying and supporting he says companies can restrict users with those workers,” says Schell. “You have tomore diverse types of devices. The issue tablet computers to just accessing email. be able to offer great products designedis how to do so safely and effectively. As the old adage goes, change is the to integrate with solutions tailored for According to Henrys, the traditional only constant. Companies that adapt to specific industries and users, and delivermodel of IT assets safely ensconced with- this new paradigm will be better able to a seamless experience with those solu-in a corporate firewall is breaking apart. take advantage of new business models, tions—across multiple devices, operating“We’re seeing organizations moving away enhance competitiveness and attract systems and applications.”◗ SYNDICATED ARTICLE ing to a lot of CIOs I have spoken with when it comes to consumerization.The Consumerization of IT The old school way of thinking about security or the traditional model was to build a firewall around the enterprise, aIDG SPOKE WITH JIM HENRYS, PRINCIPAL STRATEGIST AT INTEL sort of fortress where everything insideCORPORATION, ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGING PERSONAL could be trusted. Now you have toDEVICES IN THE WORKPLACE. implement access control on a peruser basis. There are technologies that allow you to do this, like the ability to encrypt data. Encrypting data on a personalIDG: Is the consumerization of IT real But the fact is these ultra mobile, smart device is absolutely essential. And thereor just another fad? devices have very innovative uses for the are technologies that readily allow ITJim: It used to be that innovation hap- business in places where traditional tech- managers to disable a lost or stolenpened first in the business space then nologies wouldn’t solve the problem. The device remotely. But security also has tofiltered down to consumers. However IT manager has got to think hard about be considered with respect to a raft ofconsumers today see technology not as what all this means to IT services. HR issues and policies, such as privacya luxury but as a necessity. So a lot of IT and legal implications.innovation and new capabilities are being IDG: What if anything is the interplaydeveloped first for the consumer space between virtualization efforts and con- IDG: What suggestions might you offerand then it finds its way to the business. sumerization of IT? mid-sized businesses IT managers whoSophisticated technologies and commu- Jim: Security as I noted is a big piece of want to leverage consumerization fornications have become very affordable this challenge for IT, and that is where the good of their company?for consumers. Going forward, they will virtualization can play a big role in secure Jim: Consider a simple three-step plan:drive a lot of what IT has to support. application delivery. Virtualization allows Step 1, allow users of approved devices IT managers to implement a level of sepa- to access email on the go. Step 2, en-IDG: For mid-sized businesses IT man- ration of company data from personal in- able those users to receive and viewagers, what will be the most profound formation. The problem for IT is delivering attachments. Step 3, break down ITimpact of consumerization? applications to a large number of differ- services into a set of discrete applica-Jim: First, the IT manager starts to lose ent devices and platforms. Virtualization tions that can be made available tocontrol when employees start bring- solves a lot of issues around this challenge. users via the Web technologies or app-ing in their own hardware, and those store type services. All this happens indevices have company information on IDG: How real are the security concerns accordance to existing governancethem. The manager can’t simply say “no” around widespread consumerization and and security frameworks. Due to theto this. Second, there is the challenge of what should be done to address them? newness of consumerization, there re-meeting employee expectations based Jim: Security really is a genuine con- ally aren’t hardened templates to follow,on their personal use of these devices. cern, the elephant in the room accord- so be prepared to learn. Tech Dossier: Mobility