Throughout 2012, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon plagued IT teams. Attempts to limit the use of personal devices in the workplace gave way to resignation that countless smartphones and tablets would be present at work. Much like victims of the Borg from Star Trek, IT has realized that “Resistance is futile.”
Companies have spent considerable resources on mobile device management (MDM), only to realize that managing other people’s devices is impossible for all practical purposes. For a while, companies wrestled with allowing corporate-owned devices access but prohibiting personal devices. But if employees use their company-issued smartphone for personal life, too, then its use is just as difficult to control as an employee-owned device. IT managers know there is no way to be 100 percent positive that employees won’t access the network with their personal devices.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns the mobile device. We can assume that all mobile devices are untrusted and focus on securing data and access.
Once IT managers come to this realization, they can focus on access and data control, instead of trying to manage a vast assortment of users and devices. Instead of trying to figure out each platform, the IT manager's role becomes much more streamlined. In this way, MDM gives way to technologies like network access control (NAC), application gateways and data loss prevention systems. IT managers decide which devices have access to which data.
Mobile devices have undoubtedly introduced significant challenges for IT management. Now that BYOD is no longer a trend but a fact of business, new ways to address its impact need to evolve. IT departments will have fewer headaches and worries if they concentrate on securing access to the network and the data rather than managing individual devices. A secure network means relief for IT teams coping with scattered mobile device policies.
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