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Are You Combating "Bring Your Own Mobile Device"?

Many IT departments are struggling with the mobile device onslaught sweeping through their organizations. Employees are bringing in their own devices (commonly known as BYOD), such as smartphones and tablets, and expecting their IT department to support it.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that C-level executives are probably the worst offenders. They want the latest release, and IT doesn't have a deployment roadmap to keep pace with the rate of development. This consumerization of IT is causing a host of problems that IT departments are struggling with, including, but not limited to:

  • Staying up to date with the latest mobile releases and applications available
  • Securing the devices and information on them
  • Securing the network access points
  • Integrating the devices into the network to ensure the right people have the right data access
  • Application download control.

As a result, IT has lost some control in developing the technology roadmap for their organizations and ensuring the secure deployment of these devices. Not only is this putting an organization's IT infrastructure at risk, but it's also jeopardizing its customers' information.

New threats specifically targeting the weak security on mobile devices are popping up every day from malicious hackers and spammers. Most companies are far out of regulatory compliance, and they don't even know it.

So what is IT to do? Is there any way to sandbag against the wave of "bring your own mobile devices" that's flooding organizations? Many say "no." Many believe that supporting the device of choice empowers employees, makes them happier worker bees and, as a result, makes them more productive.

These individuals would argue that not embracing BYOD will put you at a competitive disadvantage, stifle creativity and put you out of touch with the new generation of employees entering the workforce.

There is no argument that mobility has increased employee productivity and increased communications across customers and supply chains. It has turned the business world on its head and forced many organizations to operate in more of a real-time environment, which results in efficiencies and better customer service. However, the havoc it has wreaked on IT and the security exposure it has created cannot be ignored.

Motorola Solutions believes it has the answer. Motorola--the one that focuses on enterprise and government clients, not the one being acquired by Google--recently released its new Android tablet ET1, which is specifically designed for enterprise use--not for consumer giggles.

It features a more rugged design for commercial use, specifically for retail, warehouses, medical and law enforcement situations. It costs about twice as much as an iPad, but it's made to last longer and is customizable to the business using it, according to Motorola executives.

Because it is geared specifically for the commercial market, Motorola believes investment in these devices comes down to two factors: return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO). The company is backing up its ET1 with a new software application platform, RHOElements, which offers ISVs the ability to generate HTML5-compatible applications created for any environment and appealing specifically to vertical markets.

The device appears ideal for those organizations--from retail to travel and hospitality to health care--looking to embrace the efficiencies gained through mobile computing, while protecting their organization from the headaches and threats caused by the BYOD phenomenon. The big question is, Is it too late?

Elliot Markowitz is Senior Vice President, Editorial Director, Ziff Davis Enterprise.
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