“Quite simply, mobile devices are being used to access corporate data and applications.”
On one level it is not a surprise: after all, mobile devices proliferate in the consumer space, and so it is only natural that they have moved into the corporate space, either displacing specialist handheld computing devices or else creating entirely new working methods.
"Things are not always so simple, however" said Hampson — certainly not for corporate IT departments.
“The biggest challenge now is that typical users are tech-savvy. They like their devices and enjoy using them. Why not allow them to use these devices for work? Users want to be able to use their own devices to access corporate data and applications. This is not a bad thing. Users just want to do their jobs. In IT we shouldn’t prevent this and be a blocker to progress. We should embrace and manage it and empower the users to work as they would prefer.”
This is all very well, but integrating Android and iOS devices into established workflows can be tricky. In fact, it is now so prevalent that it is changing the nature of the applications used in business environments, even on the desktop.
“Corporate data comes in many different formats email being the most obvious. Users also need to be able to access corporate applications and data and often these are provided by cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Securing these services and data is the challenge faced by IT,” he said.
Bring your own device (BYOD), meanwhile, has become the norm, particularly with the decline and fall of the former executive favourite, BlackBerry.
“BYOD has, of course, presented IT departments with administrative challenges. Corporate boundaries behind rock-solid firewalls no longer exist. Previously, we were able to protect our devices and data from the outside world by hiding them behind layers and layers of security. That is no longer possible. We’re forced into allowing external access to data and that introduces risk.
“Recently there has been a lot more development in the areas of user identity and data protection. Ergo leverages Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security to provide a comprehensive management solution,” he said.
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