Talking regularly about the consumerization of IT can often make one sound like a broken record, but the economic, security and management challenges it throws up for enterprises are too important to ignore.
The problems boil down to a lack of control, which can be described in two key ways. IT departments of course are built on policies, planning and predictability, but the introduction of technology from the consumer sphere, even when purchased centrally by IT teams for use in the enterprise, creates its own problems. It’s sexy and easy-to-use but it’s certainly not built with security and manageability in mind and will usually fall short of IT’s typical expectations. Products from the likes of Google and Apple, for example, whose respective mobile platforms iOS and Android now account for the lion’s share of the market, are great at serving the needs of consumers but have been extremely slow at embracing enterprise requirements. There is no enterprise sales or support culture with these vendors and there is little transparency with product roadmaps, which takes corporate IT managers completely out of their comfort zone.
The second problem is that, whether consumer-focused tech or not, applications and devices are being brought into the corporate world via the individual employee rather than being mandated from IT, which is the complete opposite of what normally happens. Most IT teams simply aren’t set up to work in this way, and it will require a fundamental change of thinking to ensure consumerization is handled properly.
Rather than adopt the classic head-in-the-sand approach of old, CIOs and IT bosses need to embrace consumerization and take a proactive, strategic approach built around flexible policies and the right security and management tools. Firstly, BYOD policies can’t be created in a vacuum – IT leaders need to sit down with line of business managers in all parts of the organization to figure out what their employees would like to use and how to make that possible. Thus IT is taking the initiative and reaching out in an inclusive, proactive manner.
Secondly, policies must be drawn up to be more flexible and fluid. In a world where everyone in the organization from the CEO down needs to be managed, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to policy making. IT needs to think carefully and map technology and policies to the various user groups. Finally, they need the right infrastructure technologies to help enable all of this.
Companies that are questioning whether or not to allow workers to bring personal devices into the workplace should just stop asking: It’s clear that you can get a competitive edge when you put the right precautions in place. The Consumerization phenomenon gives companies that allow it a competitive advantage as it enhances innovation and creativity in the workplace while reducing overall costs for the entire organization. The key to not being overwhelmed by this trend is that all these devices need to be secured by implementing the proper BYOD policies and procedures.
Consumerization of IT is disruptive and inevitable. But many IT leaders are slow to realize it. Like dinosaurs of a previous IT era, they are headed for extinction.
Post based on a podcast produced by the Financial Times featuring Cesare Garlati, head of Mobile Security at Trend Micro, on some of the downsides of bringing your own device to work. Listen to the FT Connected Business podcast at http://podcast.ft.com/index.php?pid=1398
More on Consumerization, BYOD and Mobile Security at http://BringYourOwnIT.com
Cesare Garlati, Vice President Consumerization and Mobile Security, Trend Micro
As Vice President of Consumerization and Mobile Security at Trend Micro, Cesare Garlati serves as the evangelist for the enterprise mobility product line. Cesare is responsible for raising awareness of Trend Micro’s vision for security solutions in an increasingly consumerized IT world, as well as ensuring that customer insights are incorporated into Trend solutions. Prior to Trend Micro, Mr. Garlati held director positions within leading mobility companies such as iPass, Smith Micro and WaveMarket. Prior to this, he was senior manager of product development at Oracle, where he led the development of Oracle’s first cloud application and many other modules of the Oracle E-Business Suite.
Cesare has been frequently quoted in the press, including such media outlets as The Economist, Financial Times, The Register, The Guardian, Le Figaro, El Pais, Il Sole 24 Ore, ZD Net, SC Magazine, Computing and CBS News. An accomplished public speaker, Cesare also has delivered presentations and highlighted speeches at many events, including the Mobile World Congress, Gartner Security Summits, IDC CIO Forums, CTIA Applications and the RSA Conference.
Cesare holds a Berkeley MBA, a BS in Computer Science and numerous professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco and Sun. Cesare is the chair of the Consumerization Advisory Board at Trend Micro and co-chair of the CSA Mobile Working Group.