Monday, March 5, 2012

IT Departments Scramble to Keep Pace with Mobility Growth

As mobile devices and applications extend the boundaries of the workplace, information technology (IT) departments must create new policies and procedures to keep the mobile enterprise accessible, available and secure, according to research released today by IT industry association CompTIA.  

While PCs continue to be a major part of the corporate IT landscape, CompTIA's Trendsin Enterprise Mobility study reveals that laptops, ultrabooks, smartphones and tablets are increasingly essential to day-to-day business in a "post-PC" environment. Smartphones are in place at more organizations than standard cell phones, and tablets are the top choice for purchase intent in the next year.

The CompTIA study also finds that 84 percent of those surveyed use their smartphone for light work such as email or web browsing. Individuals using tablets have an even wider range of uses, including note-taking, giving presentations and using their tablet as a communications device in lieu of a phone.  As a result, IT departments are building new policies governing behavior in a mobile environment; and implementing support structures and applications.

Only 22 percent of companies in the CompTIA survey currently have a formal mobility policy. Another 20 percent were building policies at the time of the survey. These policies typically cover guidelines for mobile applications and corporate data, along with device guidelines.

Security considerations are the greatest risk involved in supporting mobility, at least in the view of 70 percent of IT staff surveyed for the CompTIA study. Among the challenges they face:

-- Downloading unauthorized apps, cited as a serious concern by 48 percent of respondents

-- Lost or stolen devices (42 percent)

-- Mobile-specific viruses and malware (41 percent)

-- Open Wi-Fi networks (41 percent)

-- USB flash drives (40 percent)

-- Personal use of business devices (40 percent)

These types of incidents and others have prompted organizations to take various security measures. Requiring passcodes, installing tracking software and encrypting data on the device are among the most common steps taken.

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