Guests are checking in with tablet computers in tow. Are you being equally hospitable to iPad, Android and Windows?
It used to be that technology created for commercial or military applications eventually filtered down to consumers. No more. Now, it’s just the opposite. To know which technologies your organization’s IT staff will need to support next year, look no further than what the teenagers in your own home are using today. They were among the first to have smartphones running iOS, Android or Windows Mobile. Now it’s tablets, typified by the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy. Like it or not, mobile devices are here to stay — they’ve already become an essential part of many organizations’ operations. Embrace the tablet and stay competitive. Ignore it and wither.
A key emerging issue when it comes to tablet deployment is deciding whether to allow only company-issued units on the network or whether to also support the use of employees’ personal devices, the so-called bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenario. The choice is anything but clear.
Philip Wegner, President of Secure Edge Networks, a Charlotte, N.C. mobile computing and communications integrator, is in the thick of it. “Many organizations are standardizing on iPads by issuing them to employees,” he says. That means supporting just one platform. “Others that adopt a BYOD strategy have to support multiple platforms and very carefully control access to assets.” With BYOD, be on the lookout for tablets being used for unnecessary streaming, gaming, file sharing and inappropriate content, Wegner adds.
BYOD vastly increases network complexity in terms of security, controlling access rights by identifying individual tablet devices. Add policy enforcement and bandwidth management and you’ve got quite an infrastructure to oversee. BYOD also carries hidden costs — the hardware