Trend Micro CTO Raimund Genes just published his traditional new year predictions for 2013. Quite insightful and mind opening paper, which I invite you to download and add to your reading list for the Holidays.
Interestingly enough for Trend Micro – the company that has made the “Journey to the Cloud” its corporate mantra – Raimund’s top two predictions are not related to the cloud but rather to the inevitable impact of consumer mobile platforms on corporate IT – a topic particularly relevant to the Consumerization blog and to the Enterprise Mobility professionals among us:
#1 The volume of malicious and high-risk Android apps will hit 1 million in 2013.
#2 Windows 8 offers improved security—but only to consumers.
I find quite intriguing that Raimund put mobile at the very top of his list. As my readers know well, I have been preaching for a while that corporate IT needs to change mindset with regard to consumer mobile technology to better support the business. Talking regularly about the consumerization of IT can often make one sound like a broken record, but the economic, security, and management challenges it brings up for enterprises are too important to ignore.
The problems boil down to a lack of control, which can be described in two key ways. IT departments of course are built on processes, planning and predictability, but the introduction of technology from the consumer sphere, even when centrally procured by IT teams for use in the enterprise, creates its own problems. Consumer technology is sexy and easy-to-use but it’s certainly not built with security and manageability in mind and will usually fall short of IT’s typical expectations with respect to security and manageability. Products from the likes of Google and Apple, for example, whose respective mobile platforms iOS and Android now account for the lion’s share of the market, are great at serving the needs of consumers but have been extremely slow at embracing enterprise requirements. There is no enterprise sales or support culture with these vendors and there is little or no transparency with product roadmaps, which takes corporate IT managers completely out of their comfort zone.
The second problem with the explosion of these new mobile platforms is that, whether consumer-focused tech or not, applications and devices are being brought into the corporate world via the individual employee rather than being mandated from IT, which is the complete opposite of what normally happens. Most IT departments simply aren’t set up to work in this way, and it will require a fundamental change of thinking to ensure consumerization is handled properly.
Moving into 2013, rather than adopt the classic head-in-the-sand approach of old, CIOs and IT bosses need to embrace consumerization and take a proactive, strategic approach built around flexible policies and the right security and management tools.
Firstly, BYOD policies can’t be created in a vacuum – IT leaders need to sit down with line of business managers in all parts of the organization to figure out what their employees would like to use and how to make that possible. Thus IT is taking the initiative and reaching out in an inclusive, proactive manner.
Secondly, policies must be drawn up to be more flexible and fluid. In a world where everyone in the organization from the CEO down needs to be managed, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to policy making. IT needs to think carefully and map technology and policies to the various user groups.
Finally, they need the right infrastructure technologies to help enable all of this. Of course, this is an area where established enterprise vendors such as Trend Micro can help – to enable the secure management of consumer devices and services so that employees are happy and more productive, risks are managed and the business flourishes.
My prediction for 2013 is that this will be remembered as the year when Enterprise Mobility finally embraces consumer mobile technology for good – and with it, the many business benefits of Consumerization.
“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Niels Bohr Danish physicist (1885 – 1962)