Football season is just around the corner and the iPad is set to become a fixture for both college and pro teams. As we noted earlier in the year, a handful of NFL teams made the switch to iPad-based playbooks at the start of last season and more are making the switch this year. In addition to NFL teams, several colleges have announced that they are transitioning to the iPad playbook model as well.
There are plenty of stories out there about the explosive growth of mobile technology in the workplace. The trend towards bring your on device (BYOD) models in which employees are allowed or encouraged to bring their own iPhones, iPads, and other devices into the office is driving a massive expansion of the number of mobile devices used for work tasks. At the same time, the annual (or even more frequent) device an OS release cycles that have become common are driving up diversity of devices and resetting the mobile technology playing field every few months.
That constant change is forcing the IT professionals to adapt to new devices, apps, use cases, network models, and security threats faster than anything the IT industry has ever seen.
This is particularly visible in the mobile management space. A year ago, the primary method for handling mobile device and data security was to manage and lock down the device itself using one of dozens of mobile device management (MDM) suites on the market. Over the past six to nine months, however, MDM has been replaced by mobile app management (MAM) as the best way to secure business data. That’s a warp-speed transition in the mindset and goals of IT professionals.
The number of companies investing in mobile management and security solutions related to bring your own device (BYOD) programs is growing, but not nearly as fast as the number of companies that are actually offering BYOD to their employees. The result is that many companies are putting themselves and their data at risk by jumping onto the BYOD bandwagon too quickly and without properly securing employee iPhones, iPads, and other devices or the business data that is stored on them.
In addition to launching Mountain Lion Server last week, Apple rather quietly released a Mountain Lion Server version of Workgroup Manager – the traditional Mac management tool included in previous releases of OS X Server. The move was unexpected after Apple released the Advanced Administration guide for Mountain Lion Server, which implied that administrators would need to begin an almost-immediate shift to Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager.
The move is good news for many organizations that have an existing investment in OS X Server and Mac clients. Although Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager is arguably a more modern and enterprise-friendly solution, it only supports Macs running Lion and Mountain Lion. Any schools or businesses with clients still on Leopard or Snow Leopard would be out of luck if Profile Manager were the only available option.
Do bring your own device (BYOD) programs that allow or encourage users to bring their personal iPhones, iPads, and other devices into the workplace reduce costs or do they drive costs up because of the need for mobile management, training, and technical support?
That fundamental question has been the source of a lot of debate, numerous studies, and a lot of sleepless nights for CIOs and IT managers.
The truth is that this is a question that’s difficult, if not impossible, to answer definitively. There are many variables involved in developing and implementing a BYOD policy or program.