Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Wild West of Mobile Governance

With many years of network infrastructure experience and evolution behind us, the networks and workstations within most organizations are pretty well standardized. It’s a different story for mobile devices and especially tablets, where the landscape could be aptly described as a lawless wild west.

The Aberdeen Group just published a study called Enterprise Mobility Management 2011: Mobility Becomes Core IT that show dramatic gaps in IT governance with smart devices in general and tablets specifically have been approached from an “adopt now - manage later” philosophy.

Here are some industry averages of companies that have implemented basic security features which in my opinion depicts a frenzied adoption of mobile technologies in lieu of an IT infrastructure to support them:

  • Lock and Wipe Capabilities: Smartphones 56%, Tablets 22%
  • Two Factor User Authentication: Smartphone 29%, Tablets 22%
  • Data Encryption of Removable Media: Smartphones 26%, Tablets 12%

These data are unbelievable. In the Aberdeen paper, the best in class data are at points significantly better than industry averages but certainly still unacceptable. The laggards are abhorrently bad in their adoption of many of the most basic security features.

As software developers, we should view the rapid - and apparently reckless - adoption of tablets as a precursor to an imminent explosion of mobile development internally within each of our organizations.

We are entering an era unlike any that has ever been seen. One that will make the Internet boom look tame and uneventful. Interestingly, all the development we’ve done in the past has prepared us well for this moment in time. The mobile platform is not nearly as challenging as when the Internet was introduced to us.

The difference maker this time around is having a creative workforce with a vision of how a mobile workforce is different than the status quo and what tools are required to leverage their nearly ubiquitous connectivity.

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