With ever more employees clamouring to use smartphones for both private and business reasons, IT and security executives are compelled to answer tough questions: First, will there be authorised enterprise adoption of Apple's iPhone - not to the mention the iPad - as well as smartphones based totally on Google's Android operating system.
And, if employees want to use their own smartphone or iPad in business, will that be permitted? Eventually , how will the corporation gear up to exert management and security controls in a multi-operating system smartphone environment, or work out the simplest way to secure information on a device which the employee, not the enterprise, officially owns? "It's coming," asserts Terrell Herzig, data protection officer at UAB Health System, the hospice and medical research organization based in Birmingham, Ala.
"The iPhones, the iPads, the Droid." Herzig announces expert medics and staff just bring in the devices and expect to get onto clinical systems. They call the help desk, which reacts with confusion before calling the safety team. And the demand is so powerful, UAB's CIO has set up a special task force to take on the issue and work out whether UAB, which already makes official usage of the BlackBerry, should become a multi-smartphone environment, or approve use of private devices.
"We're telling them hold off on buying these devices while we figure it out," Herzig says. Just this week UAB ended its security and configuration measures for the iPad, which should now be officially used with Good Technology's management and security application. “The new generation of devices have the capability to do the things we want them to do", Herzig says. "A lot of people will want to remote desktop from the Droid, which is this week's big request." The prospect of supporting management and security in a multi-operating system smartphone environment, or letting the staff members use their own device rather than purchasing one for them, is now hotly discussed among specialists and researchers.
"Most of the security can't scale to the number of devices the users will bring," asserts Kalani Silva, director of business transformation enablement at Presidio Network Solutions in Greenbelt, Md. Silva believes attempting to support multiple smartphone types in the enterprise will put demands on IT and security and add costs that just are not worthwhile. The BlackBerry, long established in the enterprise, can be moderately controlled, Silva claims, but that's not correct today with iPhone and the Android mobile devices.
And permitting what's brought in as a patron private device to be utilized in business recommends there should be some way to soundly partition it, which might be a practice in times to come but it is not today. Other researchers recognize there are hazards it should be considered. "It's a devil's bargain", asserts Andrew Borg, researcher at the Aberdeen consultancy. RIM's BlackBerry has for some time been the smartphone staple in the enterprise, and is promoted for that purpose.