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As tablet and smartphone adoption rates rise, CEOs are rapidly placing "enterprise mobility" on their to-do lists.
Still, many organizations continue to balk at the thought of employing a formal mobile strategy. Whether weary of the associated structural changes or simply unconvinced of its benefits, many executives are dragging their feet when it comes to an enterprise-wide mobile deployment.
In fact, only 20 percent to 25 percent of companies using mobile devices claim to have a formal strategy in place, said Jack Gold, president of analyst firm J. Gold Associates, during a mobility panel session, "Wireless and Mobility: On the Go, in Touch and Connected: The Mobility Challenge," at the COMDEXvirtual event.
Reluctance stems largely from the many organizational and technical hurdles companies must jump over before "going mobile" on a corporate scale, Gold said.
Of these hurdles, security is one of the largest, Gold noted. The growing number of users who leverage personal devices for corporate use -- which is about 50 percent -- further complicates the matter.
"The bring-your-own-device [BYOD] phenomenon causes a lot of issues for IT," Gold said during the session. "They have to deal with handling all these devices, and connecting them to the network safely. They need to worry about security, data loss, and compliance -- particularly if you’re in a regulated industry."
Bill Trout, vice president of mobility at AB&T Telecom, a T-Mobile channel partner, has seen the BYOD dilemma play out in client sites. Not only does the trend heighten security, integration, and collaboration issues, Trout said, but it complicates support issues, as well, due to the varying OS and device platforms it introduces to an organization.
"Mobile device support is challenging enough for organizations that have standardized device platforms and operating systems with server side controls," Trout said. "Introducing iPhone, Android, and others into the mix can push some IT departments to the breaking point."
The BYOD issue does, however, present an opportunity for telecom service providers to offer device management resources to enterprise customers.
"To help clients meet these challenges head-on, mobility consultants would be well-served to have a mobile device management [MDM] solution to position with enterprise clients," said Trout. "Today's MDM applications allow for mobile security and compliance, centralized administration, and mobile app management in order to help IT departments cope with the realities of the BYOD organization."
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