Corporate IT device management isn’t what it used to be.
Desktops and laptops aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but they are no longer the only options for end users. It doesn’t stop at corporate-issued BlackBerry devices, either. More employees are using their PCs (often with alternative operating systems), Smartphone’s and tablets to access corporate systems. And they’re doing so whether or not their IT departments support those OS or devices.
Users are driving this endpoint explosion because these devices give them more flexibility in terms of where, when and how they do their work. On the flip side, these devices cause headaches in IT departments, where they open the door to security vulnerabilities, compliance violations and more. Administrators may choose to address these risks by officially supporting these PCs, Smartphone’s and tablets, but doing so makes IT device management more difficult as you know more devices more complexity.
Even traditional Windows desktop management is changing. Windows 8, due in late 2012, will be able to run on PCs as well as notebooks and tablets, thanks to ARM processor support. And it will look and act much differently than its predecessors, with a tiled interface and touch-screen capabilities reminiscent of a mobile OS.
These changes will not only affect IT device management, but also application development, deployment and use. Corporate apps on mobile devices don’t always work properly; Smartphone’s are especially susceptible to this problem because of their small screens, which can make it difficult for users to see all the information they need.
To give a scenario with iPad popularity, administrators in charge of IT device management must pay attention to business tablet use, even in organizations that don’t support these gadgets. Thanks to features such as Exchange ActiveSync, iPad users can access corporate email on these devices without involving the IT department at all. And savvy employees can even download remote desktop apps to access their entire corporate PCs on their tablet.
Though the Apple iPad is forcing its way into corporate IT, Connecting an iPad to a corporate IT network isn’t very complicated, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. Application providers say that iPads, despite their appeal among mobile workers, have several downsides for both users and admins. The iPad has no USB ports, and printing requires a special app and a wireless printer. Plus, from a device management standpoint, its remote-wipe and application-control capabilities are lacking. Though it may sound not appealing to use iPad in a corporate IT also can server some cases like for sales professionals, tablets make it easy to show demos, give presentations and even enter orders, thanks to mobile customer relationship management apps. And tablets can also simplify video and Web conferencing by relying on their built-in cameras and software, eliminating the need for monitors, cables and special equipment.
The iPad got off to an early lead in the tablet market thanks to Apple’s devoted consumer base. But when it comes to business tablet use, Windows and Android may have more appeal. Some experts say Windows tablets will be easier to manage because of Windows’ dominance in traditional desktop computing, and others say the iPad lacks the necessary features for full enterprise use. It depends on your level of IT integration.