How IT shops are coping with tablet mania

By Beth Stackpole, Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless, consumerization of IT, tablets

"Bring-your-own iPads are treated as any other mobile device, just like a phone would be," Saenz says. Users must sign consent forms in which they agree to have the Good app installed on their devices, grant permission for remote wiping of their devices if they're lost or stolen, and confirm that they will abide by AIM's usage policies.

If things change, the Good MDM platform can help enforce policies as they evolve. For instance, Saenz says, "from a security standpoint, we haven't felt the need to put stringent restrictions on apps or iTunes access, but if that should change, it can all be done within the Good console."

Delivering the Apps

As users' requirements move beyond email and calendar access to productivity software and other corporate tools, IT needs to create a strategy for application delivery. Conceptus, a medical device manufacturer, has developed its own enterprise app store to distribute internal apps so it doesn't have to worry about serving up proprietary programs in a public venue, according to Jeff Letasse, Conceptus' CIO.

Currently, the internal app store offers about five applications, including an in-house sales and marketing tool, and Letasse is hoping that number will quickly grow.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company doesn't support employee-owned devices, but it has purchased more than 250 iPads for its executive staff and field sales reps, who use the devices to access customer relationship management and marketing support applications.

Conceptus has modified its usage policies to allow employees to put personal apps on the devices -- with the understanding that those apps might have to be remotely wiped in certain circumstances and that the devices can't be overloaded with so much content that they become inoperable for corporate use.

Even with IT's involvement, there are still gray areas where end users are in the driver's seat. Take upgrades, for example. Instead of having Letasse's group orchestrate an operating system upgrade over a period of months, as it would with PCs and laptops, Conceptus allows iPad users to upgrade iOS at their leisure without enlisting IT and without giving the group a chance to test the new technology with enterprise systems.

"We in the support world are trying to grapple with a loss of control," says Eric Simmons, director of IT operations and ERP solutions at Conceptus.

While the team is still hammering out its processes, it stays on top of upgrades by using MDM software from Zenprise. When the company recently needed to push out an upgrade for a sales and marketing app, Zenprise fed live data about who had upgraded into a data warehouse, so managers could check to ensure that employees were using the right version.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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