IT's Consumerization Compliance Conundrum - InformationWeek
Government // Mobile & Wireless
04:53 PM
Steve Duplessie
Steve Duplessie

IT's Consumerization Compliance Conundrum

Users are already bringing their own devices onto the network, and IT can no longer control where corporate data resides. What should you do to cope?

The consumerization of IT is a hot topic, laden with confusing side notes. Allow me to make a bad thing worse.

In short, what's happening is people--you and I--employees of business or government entities, are no longer accepting that the devices we are allowed to use to do our jobs will be dictated by IT or legislated by human resources.

Consumers act autonomously and independently. They are not told what to do by anyone except marketers--who don't tell them what to do directly, but rather bombard them with messages that make them feel like they came up with the idea to do something.

The consumerization of IT is exactly that--no longer allowing IT to dictate behavior, and instead acting autonomously. Often to the potential detriment of the entity.

I have a small company. Two years ago we were 100% Windows. So I bought a Mac. I listened to all the reasons why our shop couldn't support a Mac.

Guess what happened? We support the Mac now.

This is what's happening everywhere. Where IT used to be able to say "you can only use this phone or this laptop, or this tablet"--now people are going to use whatever it is that makes them the most productive--and the most comfortable.

IT is going to be forced to adapt.

These are facts. This is what we have to deal with, like it or not.

In the online file sharing and collaboration space, ESG's Terri McClure opened my eyes to what she calls "IT's Consumerization Compliance Conundrum," which, to paraphrase, is the simple concept of who owns the data. If a user keeps corporate data outside of corporate IT's control--and then leaves the company--what is IT to do? The honest answer today is absolutely nothing. And that should scare people.

For example, if an employee stores sensitive business contact information on his phone, a design spec on her iPad, or a pile of proprietary documents out at Box, Egnyte, or any of the other online file guys--what happens to that very valuable, very sensitive stuff when the employee leaves? There is no way back for IT.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

Core IT services, designed to protect the entity and support the business of business, are being ignored outright. Worse, even if they aren't, they won't work any longer.

For example, IT often still doesn't own the backup of laptops--and sometimes even of desktops. It pushes the responsibility to the user--"put your stuff on this file server and we'll back it up." Well guess what, that is going out the window. People aren't using your file servers anymore. They are using Dropbox.

As long as your people are going to be creating contacts or content on end points, it is going to have to be dealt with. You can't leave it up to the user to do the right thing. You can't legislate or mandate behavior. You have to deal with it centrally--without impact to their lives.

If you are going to do anything on an end user's device, it needs to be done completely transparently, and completely automatically. Users shouldn't even know it's happening. It's your only hope to regain any semblance of control.

Endpoints will likely have some of the highest levels of duplicate data within the enterprise. Certainly this is true when it comes to a single user--who uses 17 different devices --but also between users. We send each other emails, PowerPoints, and so forth that create outrageous amounts of duplicate data for our organizations to deal with. More duplicates at the endpoints means fatter pipe requirements to suck data back in, more processing power to do something with it, and tons more infrastructure to house and support it all.

Thus, if you are not optimizing by deduplicating or compressing at the endpoint, you are going to flood your networks and pile a ton of new problems onto your already complicated lives.

You have to deal with the fact that users will access their stuff from many different devices. You can't restrict it--or you will become an impediment. Business hates impediments.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
4/20/2012 | 6:45:43 PM
re: IT's Consumerization Compliance Conundrum
I would look at this from the other angle like this article spells out: Sound security and data protection is sound security and data protection, and if companies focus on implementing and enforcing sound security and data protection, the compliance will follow. The problems come when companies *try* to be compliant instead of trying to be secure.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2012 | 10:32:59 PM
re: IT's Consumerization Compliance Conundrum
One of the challenges with consumerization is that so many organizations look at dealing with the implications of BYOD (and creating necessary strategies) after the fact. Most don't probably have a checklist, like advocated in the article. Perhaps one way to deal with this is to have cloud applications & infrastructure already in place. In that case, it becomes a matter of protecting the app and the data ... and (merely) connecting with the device. --Paul Calento
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll