C3 Attendees Point to Mobile, Wireless Vendor Apps

Reporter's Notebook: At C3 Expo, vendors are showing everything from an office suite specifically for Apple iPods to ultra-sleek PDA storage devices. But attendees see tons of other ways for the mobile/wireless industry to make users happier, too,

Mobile devices and wireless technologies keep proliferating in multitudinous directions. But from the perspectives of participants in this weeks C3 Expo in New York, theres room for improvement on both scores, ranging from more all inclusive device management to stronger Wi-Fi encryption and beyond.

"I think theres a real opportunity for vendors to provide full-scale management across all mobile platforms," said Tom Goodman, director of IT at Essex Corp.

"Certain companies have products that do bits and pieces of this, but nobody today is doing it all."

Unmanaged devices represent a real threat to enterprises, according to Mike Coop, vice president of field operations for Cranite Systems, a federal government contractor.

Salespeople, for instance, keep valuable contact information on PDAs and cell phones.

As a result, these devices need to be protected from getting into competitors hands, according to Coop.

But mobile security policies are also crucial, and theyre still sorely inadequate or even missing entirely in a lot of organizations.

Essex Corp. has just instituted one new policy of sorts, Goodman said, relating what he dubbed a "Bluetooth war story."

The CEO of Essex, a "technophobe of the highest degree," asked Goodman to help him ground the Bluetooth that came with his new car.

But due to the software built into the vehicles Bluetooth, the car started showing up as "a $60,000 node on the corporate network," since Bluetooth was also running on the company chiefs BlackBerry device.

The cure came when the IT director decided to "disassociate" the BlackBerry from the corporate network. Instead, the BlackBerry is now dedicated strictly to the CEOs personal use.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read more about Sprints mobility services designed to help enterprises better control their employees in the field through messaging technologies, click here.

Coop half-jokingly described another possible mobile device policy.

"No salesperson is ever going to leave a cell phone in his car," he quipped, during a panel session on wireless security at the computer and channel trade show.

Mobile workers can use some assistance with regulatory compliance, too, said Cathy Renner, large corporate and government account manager at CMS Products Inc., during an interview with Ziff Davis Internet at C3s ShowStoppers press event.

According to Renner, users in fields such as health care and finance need easy-to-carry portable storage devices for backing up their data.

The backups give extra assurance of HIPPA or Sarbanes-Oxley compliance in case a PDA gets lost or its hard drive goes bad.

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