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BYOD Driving IT Shops ‘Crazy’

By Matt Hamblen

IT managers who grapple with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can expect to see an explosion of different smartphones and tablets used by their workers in the next few years. As a result, IT shops won’t be able to keep up with the support demands needed to protect company data used on the various devices, said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney.

BYOD Driving IT Shops ‘Crazy’“IT can’t handle all these devices. They’re going crazy. They get into fights on whether users should get upgrades or not,” he said.

And because IT shops won’t be able to keep up, software vendors will be forced to innovate and create what Dulaney called “beneficial viruses” — software that will be embedded in sensitive corporate data, such as financial or patient information, that’s carried on a smart phone or other mobile device. These beneficial viruses would work like DRM software seen on music and video files, Dulaney explained.
“It’s time for the SAPs and Oracles to begin thinking about doing that, and it’s a lot harder than we think,” he said. “Inside every piece of [corporate] data there would be a beneficial virus that whenever the data found itself in the wrong place [such as on an unauthorized device], it would say, ‘I don’t see a license to be here and I will delete myself.”

Rely on MDM BYOD Driving IT Shops ‘Crazy’
Today, companies rely on different Mobile Device Management (MDM) software companies to monitor which users with smartphones or tablets are authorized to access certain applications and whether they can use the data offline, or outside of the corporate cloud. But Dulaney said that’s not a secure enough approach, and he predicted that MDM — a “tactical invention” won’t be viable for more than three years. “We have to be smarter about security on mobile devices,” he said.
“Buying MDM is a good idea today, but I can’t see that the mobile computing industry is ever going to stabilize so that we can do the things we’ve done with laptops and desktops for years.”

What’s the approach?
Dulaney’s approach is partly designed to keep IT shops from battling with users who want to choose their own smartphone, or more recently, a tablet. “IT shops instill security requirements about devices and to IT, that’s value to the end user, but the end user sees it as taking away freedom,” he said.
Gartner’s current advice to IT shops in managing mobile devices is to consider setting up all or some of three different tiers of support — platform, appliance and concierge. In platform support, IT offers full PC-like support for a device and the device is chosen by IT, and will be used typically in vertical applications.
“With the decline of RIM, the rise of Apple and iPads [has] caused BYOD to be top of mind for IT,” Dulaney said. “Many companies still use RIM as a cornerstone of their mobile practice, but permit users to buy Android and Apple with restricted apps, sometimes requiring them only to be browser-based apps.”

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