For years, the mantra for managing end points has been rigorous standardization of devices. This strategy is, however, no longer working—at least, not so well as it did before. The two major drivers causing this are the cloud and consumerization.
The more corporate IT services and tools move to the cloud, and/or can be accessed with a browser, the fewer limitations there will be on which device platform(s) can be used to access those services and tools. Email is one of the most obvious examples of this. CRM is another, and there are naturally numerous others too.
At the same time, consumerization of technology has brought us completely new types of devices. iPhone and iPad are great examples of innovations that were initially created for consumers but which have, since their launch, entered forcefully into businesses too. Would they have done that without the cloud? I doubt it; or, at least, the pace would have been far slower.
So these trends are accelerating each other and the IT departments have not been able to stop the influx of consumer devices, partially because the demand often comes from the upper management.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a byproduct of these trends, and has created new challenges. How can we control which devices can get access to the corporate services, and how can we ensure that they are not causing a security risk?
Virtualization is one way to solve some of these challenges, but one size does not fit all. Virtual desktops, for example, might be a no-brainer for a call center, but they do not work as well for remote workers or for road warriors wanting to work on a proposal while flying to a customer meeting. And while 4G is helping in many places, the availability of sufficient bandwidth wherever you go is still not assured.
Then there are obviously tools for managing traditional PCs, but often they are Windows-centric. And MDM tools can be used for managing the mobiles; but then, where do you draw the line between a mobile device and a PC? So far it has been pretty easy—iOS phones and tablets are mobile, and so are Android devices, while Windows 7 and its predecessors are PCs.
But what about Windows 8? Do you make the split between the form factor? A desktop or laptop PC running Windows 8 is a PC, but what is a Windows 8 tablet? Or a hybrid device like a laptop with a detachable keyboard? Or an Android laptop? The lines are getting increasingly blurry.
It is not hard to predict that device diversity will increase further in the future. It is also easy to imagine that managing devices in silos with operating system- or form factor-based classification is not a sustainable approach. A device is a device and we all have several of them.
So what is needed is an IT device management solution that makes the device diversity manageable and that integrates with your other systems such as your Service Desk. And having such a system enables you both to allow your employees to use their preferred tools, and to launch policies such as BYOD without any security risks.
*** Sent from my Miradore-managed iPad ***