December 13, 2011, 8:58 AM — One of the biggest technology trends this year has been the continuing influx of consumer-oriented into the workplace. From iPads and iPhones to Android phones and tablets, 2011 will go down as the year the consumerization of IT reached a critical mass. It's no longer a question of whether IT departments will support and embrace consumer-first devices, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs and the expanded sphere of mobile platforms -- now, the issue is more about when and how.
IT departments have a lot to keep in mind: identifying employee-owned devices on the network; selecting recommended platforms for users; provisioning devices for secure access and centralized monitoring (whether company or employee-owned); dealing with lost or stolen devices; easily wiping corporate data from employee devices; coordinating volume purchases from public app stores (particularly Apple's); and publishing in-house apps.
Most of these needs can be handled with any of several mobile device management (MDM) suites such as MobileIron , Sybase Afaria , AirWatch , Tangoe and even RIM's recently announced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion . Each offers a specific set of supported platforms, features, and enterprise systems integration.