Businesses are embracing the iPad and tablet devices as an alternative to the PC - and increasing the complexity of the role of IT support staff. Figures released by Gartner suggest that media tablets are expected to displace around 10% of PCs by 2014.
Further forecasts from the analyst group include the prediction that 40% of PCs will be replaced with hosted virtual desktops, or ‘thin client’ applications. Citrix Receiver is an example of a thin client that can be installed on a device such as a tablet to provide access a full Windows desktop.
The changing fashions for devices and variety of ways in which employees can access data have big implications for support staff. “Rather than taking a notebook PC from place to place in the device-centric manner that we do today, end users will access their desktop from a variety of devices”, comments independent desktop analyst, Mark Wilson.
Someone who starts out checking email with a smart phone on the way to work may switch to a hosted virtual desktop in the office, use a tablet during meetings, and perhaps return home to use the family PC to finish up some work in the evening.
Research conducted by LANDesk Software shows that IT departments and support teams face a daunting battle to lock down devices that come in such an array of shapes, sizes and software flavours. More than half (61%) of IT decision makers in the UK see the security threat of staff use of social media as their biggest concern
Increasingly digital-savvy employees iPads, Android phones, tablets and other similar devices open the door to increased and easier access to the internet and the ever expanding suite of applications that are downloaded to them.
10 tips for securing mobile devices
1. Ensure that a robust IT policy is in place that clearly outlines the accepted use of mobile devices within the business network. This should be agreed with HR clearly communicated with staff.
2. Encrypt e-mail sessions, which can be done via Microsoft's ActiveSync.
3. Wipe them clean if they are lost or stolen using your remote systems management tools.
4. Lock them with a strong password.
5. Lock them automatically when they have been idle for set period.
6. Wipe them after a set number of failed logins.
7. Sign configuration profiles and protect them with passwords to avoid tampering.
8. Provide easy routes for employees to report lost or stolen mobile devices – self-service and support routes (web, email, and phone) to
9. Automate wiping. Enable ‘lost my ipad’ support processes raised by the device owners through support interfaces to perform a wipe automatically at any time.
10. Ensure mobile devices are known and managed through your systems management system alongside all other IT-managed devices such as desktop computers, laptops and mobile phones.
Thanks to Ian Aitchison, Technology Director, LANDesk
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