The mantra that corporate enterprise has been installing in technology departments for years is “security, security, security” at all costs! Such is the desire to protect their data, (and more importantly reputation should a data breach occur), that it’s meant that the full capability of mobile devices in the corporate world has yet to flourish.
It wasn’t too long ago that if you were in middle management, you were issued with a corporate BlackBerry that was locked down as tight as can be, possibly not even letting you send out a text message with our approval. This, is certainly one of the reasons that people the world over absolutely hate the Blackberry (there’s another post i’ve written on the downfall of BlackBerry if you’re interested). The problem for security and IT departments, is that with the rise of the smartphone in every day use, no longer can they carry on restricting and locking down corporate devices. Their employees, generally speaking, know how an iPhone or Android phone “should” work, and if it’s not working as they’d expect, then they will no longer blame the device, but blame the company! This is the single biggest reason there is a revolution in the way data is being managed today. Technology and security teams are being forced to work around and change the way data is secured and accessed in order to preserve the great user experience that users have come to expect from their handhelds.
With that rather long precursor in mind, lets take a look at another piece of IT equipment, the humble laptop.
Now, you may be reading this post on your work laptop, if you are, then you probably suffer (as many millions in the world does) from the dreaded corporate “SOE” (Standard operating Environment). This, is your companies standard configuration, of an operating system (probably Windows), a certain version of application (MS Office? Adobe Acrobat?) an antivirus such as Symantec, and a security policy wrapping it up so that you’re not able to install anything without permission.
It’s a very easy comparison to make in the mobile world. This work laptop, with a security policy, set number of applications and inability to use for your personal needs is exactly as the BlackBerry was 5+ years ago. It makes sense, that if the mobile world is starting to embrace the openness of minimally managing devices, then, once the technology has caught up, the laptop and desktop world will do the same.
Not only does it make sense… It’s happening today!
Technology to use your personal laptop for your working life has long been lagging with that of using your personal mobile for the same use. This is in part to the fact mobile use in personal and corporate worlds are so similar, but also because the ways in which we manage laptop operating systems just isn’t that easy. You’ve possibly been given access to webmail, if you’re lucky you may even have access to your works internal websites, and if you’re really lucky, then you may even have access to a platform like Microsofts Office 365, so you can even use online version of Office to work on your documents in the cloud.
Something has been changing however. Apple, a few years ago, unified the technology that sits behind the iOS mobile, and MacOS platforms (formally OSX) meaning that those same controls that enterprise do really need (password control, DLP, encryption, VPN & Wifi provisioning etc) can now be enforced in exactly the same way as they are on your mobile phone. Microsoft too, with the latest version of Windows 10 as unified the controls that can be put in place to align them with their mobile version of Windows 10.
EMM platform providers too have jumped on this capability. AirWatch, Mobileiron, and Microsoft to name just 3 have all integrated into their management platforms the capability to enrol your personal laptop device, and have it provisioned in the exact same way and your mobile device. Meaning, that you can now have access to your corporate data, applications, files, email etc, in a secure way on your personal laptop. Giving you the freedom to work in the way you want, where you want how you want.
The only thing in the way at the moment, is the lack of understanding the IT and security teams have on the capabilities of both the operating platform, and the management platforms to carry out such abilities in a secure and responsible manor.