Many IT projections for 2012 showed mobility as one of the hottest topics for the upcoming year. Fueled by the popularity of mobile devices and the growing numbers of employees working remotely, enterprise mobility is set to become big business in the years to come. Global Industry Analysts projects that by 2017, enterprise mobility will be a $174 billion market. CompTIA also feels that mobility will be a major trend to follow, and the newly released Trends in Enterprise Mobility study examines the behaviors and issues surrounding adoption of a mobility strategy.
Many have latched on to the term “post-PC,” which the late Steve Jobs popularized at the launch of the iPad2. While Jobs believed that the PC eventually will serve a more specialized function, shipment forecasts show that they will still be a major part of the IT landscape—especially more portable units such as laptops and ultrabooks. Based on results from CompTIA’s study, the more immediate implications of a post-PC era are the support structures and applications needed as smartphones and tablets become complementary devices for workers. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed use their smartphone for light work such as email or web browsing, and those using tablets found an even wider range of uses, including note-taking or giving presentations.
As IT departments start to support these devices, either as corporate-liable or employee-liable, they are finding a need to build policy governing behavior in a mobile environment. Only 22 percent of companies in the survey currently had a formal mobility policy, with another 20 percent building policies at the time of the survey. These policies typically cover guidelines for mobile applications and corporate data along with device guidelines.
Support for mobile employees is another area that IT departments and solution providers will need to consider. With less ability to meet in person, help desk options such as telephone support and email may be limiting. Those options were the most ubiquitous among survey respondents, but the most effective options were actually choices that were in place at the fewest companies: remote login and instant messaging.
Finally, security will need to be revisited as companies build out their mobility strategy. Seventy percent of IT staff in the survey said that security of mobile devices is the greatest risk involved with supporting mobility. Mobile security incidents, such as lost devices (56 percent), violations of corporate policies for data (25 percent), and mobile phishing attacks (21 percent) have prompted firms to take various security measures. Standard procedures include requiring passcodes or installing tracking software, but 33 percent of IT staff feels that the need for improved technologies is a major issue. End-users might not push back too hard on additional security—40 percent say they would be somewhat open or very open to the concept—but their input should be considered in changes to devices since it is important to keep the devices as usable as possible.
Between observations on device usage, changes in corporate policies, and innovations in security, mobility should be a fascinating area to monitor. CompTIA members can review the full study. We welcome your feedback. Look for more from CompTIA in this area over the course of the year.