Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Is your data just walking out the door?

In November my team and I ran a series of 36 events in 29 countries for IT management and IT resellers, I asked two questions of the audience of those I attended.

1. Do you have your own phone, iPad or PC that belongs to you that you use to access your employers information?

2. Does your employer have systems in place to control and manage those devices and the data on them?

Around 75% of the people I asked responded with yes to question one, but virtually no-one had a positive answer to question two.

Meanwhile, sales of iPads keep accelerating and Gartner's recent report is predicting a doubling of sales of tablets in 2012 compared to 2011 and sales of 369M tablets in 2016.  Gartner's report reiterates that Apple will continue to be the dominant player, but that Microsoft, RIM and Android devices will all be taking market share with expectations that Microsoft will have greater success in the corporate space.

So, the numbers are huge and growing fast, but even these are just sales and not the installed base of devices.  See the graphs below - the left-hand one shows iOS tablet sales (blue) and the rest of the market (green) for prior years and the Gartner predictions, but the right hand graph shows total in use - rising near to 200M this year and above 750M by 2016, around a doubling of the installed base each year.

As I see it, most new employees in IT companies come along with their favourite devices so as employees change jobs, it is even more difficult for IT to hold to a single corporate standard (if that hasn't already died).

And, I haven't even spoken about phones - where the numbers are larger, the number of different devices even greater and the product life-cycle shorter, meaning more churn, more devices to manage and therefore additional complexity.

So, in your organisation, how many employees have access to your data on their devices now and what do you predict for the future?  What happens when they leave the organisation, can you remotely wipe the data? What happens when they lost it or it is stolen?  Is the data encrypted?  How do you ensure that no-one brings in a device that has been infected when outside the organisation?

In the last decade, corporate IT recognised that everyone needed web security as well as desktop security such as anti-virus.  Now, every organisation needs Mobile Device Management and it needs it fast, it needs to be able to cope with many different demands and grow as the company grows.  In the same way that Websense, Secure Computing and Blue Coat grew to share the web security market, another set of new companies are delivering exciting technology to manage mobile devices.

The elements of MDM include policy enforcement, device inventory, security and software distribution.  IT departments need to find someone to lead this project, perhaps the job title is Chief Mobility Officer and that person needs to look at the various vendors carefully - the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant from April last year lists over twenty vendors in the space with another 25 listed as providing some features.

If you haven't seen it - one of the vendors in the Leader's Quadrant - MobileIron - has the document available on their web site.  Happy reading, let's keep our data and devices safe, before all our information walks right out of the door.

Existing sales from Apple, NPD Research and forecast from Gartner Inc.

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