Strategy Session: Mobile Devices

Sep 09, 2011


Mobility 101: Surviving The 'BYOD' Revolution

Information security teams are scrambling to protect roving users connecting to the corporate network via personal devices outside IT’s control. Seems like mission impossible, but we have no choice. Smartphones have gone from being a high-end corporate perk to a wildly successful consumer product. IDC expects total smartphone sales in 2011 to reach 472 million across the globe, rising to 982 million in 2015. A recent study by Nielsen found that 55% of new handset sales in the United States are now smartphones, up from 34% a year ago. During that same period, RIM’s share of U.S. smartphone sales has fallen to 21%, while Android sits at 38% and Apple iOS at 27%. And don’t forget tablets: Caris & Co. predicts that sales of Apple's iPad, the dominant option in this market, will grow from 14 million in 2010 to 36 million in 2011. 

Meanwhile, our InformationWeek 2011 End User Device Management Survey of 511 business technology professionals found that organizations are warming up to the idea of welcoming consumer-centric technologies such as the iPad onto their networks. Some 42% identified their organizational approach as either "accepting" or "proactive," while 23% ranked themselves "neutral"; the remaining 35% still peg their posture as "resistant" or "strict."

Good luck with that stance once the business realizes how much money could be saved by letting employees buy their own devices and data plans, not to mention the productivity gains.

The scenario: Your company’s new CMO just called. She wants to use her iPhone to get her corporate email. Could you send someone up to help configure it? Oh, and by the way, her assistant has an Android phone, and he’ll need mail access set up as well. 

Now, the two smartphone platforms have different profiles relative to malware, both can make use of open Wi-Fi hotspots--and both will store sensitive product information. A flat-out "no" won't win you any friends, but just granting access with no controls and exposing corporate information to loss or theft will put you in an even worse position. We need a middle ground. In this Strategy report, we'll lay out the seven areas you must address in your mobility policy. We'll also discuss how to identify potential vulnerabilities, investigate your management and security options, and get a plan together--before you find your back against the wall. (S3410911)

Research Report