Cloud-based service lets IT control corporate data accessed via mobile devices, starting with iPad and iPhone.
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The popularity of the iPad and other mobile devices in the workplace presents a problem for corporate IT departments: As employees increasingly turn to their own hardware, IT departments face demands to support devices they can't control.
The consumerization of IT is happening. An IDC study released earlier this month notes that 40% of the devices information workers use to access business applications are owned by the workers themselves, a figure that is 10 percentage points higher than it was last year.
This is good news from the standpoint of productivity and cost. When workers pay for their own devices, companies don't pay. And workers are using their devices to do work when they otherwise would not: Of the 3,000 or so respondents to IDC's survey, almost 50% said they'd used consumer devices to do work while on vacation, 29% said as much about their time in bed, almost 20% said so about their time driving, and 5% said as much about working in their place of worship.
But among the IT leaders that IDC queried, 80% believe IT departments face greater workloads when workers use personal devices.
To help reduce this burden, a number of companies have arisen to help make corporate and personal devices work together more efficiently. One is LogMeIn, maker of the popular LogMeIn Ignition app, which allows users to access and backup remote computers through devices running Android, iOS, or Windows.
On Tuesday, LogMeIn plans to introduce a cloud-based service to provide IT administrators with a way to control corporate data accessed through mobile devices, starting with the iPad and iPhone. Support for Android and PC-based devices is planned.
The access control service is being made available through LogMeIn's management suite, LogMeIn Central, which provides a Web-based management console for $299 a year. It enables administrators to oversee LogMeIn's remote control capabilities across a wide number of machines.
The service: allows individually-owned or company-owned iOS devices to be included in an organization's mobile inventory; allows iOS devices to be authorized for remote access to company computers, applications, and files; allows remote management of access rights and permissions for users, computers, and mobile devices; provides control over whether files can be transferred using remote devices; and provides a way to wipe stored credentials on lost or stolen devices.
"What's new here," said Andrew Burton, VP of access & management for LogMeIn, in a phone interview, "is this is really the first time that an IT organization that wants to enable access for iPads in their corporate environment can do so."
Burton said he was initially surprised at how popular the iPad is with business people. And now, he said, he has been hearing from more and more users across a range of industries that they want to be able to take their iPads with them and leave their PCs behind.
Traditionally, he said, that would mean compromise, the inability to access certain corporate resources remotely. With LogMeIn, he said, you don't have to choose between productivity and control.
"Mobility is just a fact of life," he said. "This decentralized environment is a challenge for a lot of IT departments."
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