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Taking a fresh look at standardization in a BYOD world [Lenovo]

Client Computing | Posted on December 13, 2011 by Softchoice Advisor

There’s a new reality out there – and by “out there” we mean inside your organization. Just take a look around your boardroom tables, your hallways and cafeteria, your employees’ desks, even in your data center itself – smartphones, tablets and laptops are everywhere and, more often than not, they’re not yours.

The consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena have swept the business world – 97% of employers, in fact, are letting employees access corporate data on their own devices (and not just devices, but applications and servers too). While this shift has freed employees from the office and the confines of the cubicle, enabling them to work more productively anywhere and anytime, it’s also come with huge challenges and questions for IT to grapple with, particularly in the areas of security and privacy. For instance:

  • How do you manage new versions of firmware or operating systems, or major updates?
  • How do you manage security updates?
  • Will updating run into cross-vendor issues?
  • What’s the typical operating system update process for each platform?
  • Who provides the updates–the vendor,the carrier, someone else?
  • What if hardware vendor stops support or discontinues a part on a BYOD device?
  • How to keep some measure of control behind a secure firewall when a significant amount of your enterprise’s information assets are now outside that firewall and increasingly in the cloud too?

That’s just the tip of the IT iceberg. CIOs have their own related worries – corporate data risk, business continuity planning, multiple solutions, providers and platforms, and more.

5 reasons standardization is getting a second look.
But it’s not quite IT Armageddon – at least not yet. Almost counter-intuitively, salvation may come in the form of standardization. How? It turns out the BYOD pendulum might have swung too far and an increasing number of organizations are looking at ways to rein the trend in, for a variety of practical, technology and security reasons:

  1. Sometimes mobility devices aren’t all that: While tablets and smartphones have made great inroads in the workplace, there are limitations to what they can do. For instance, you wouldn’t use a tablet (and certainly not a smartphone) to do heavy data entry or write a lengthy report. In other words, PCs and notebooks may have to share the spotlight with their upstart cousins but they’re not about to join the choir invisible anytime soon.
  2. Built tough: Enterprises can still champion corporate standards by making a persuasive case for enterprise-class quality primary devices. Consumer-grade products may have captured the imagination of users at home, but those products were ultimately not built with the computing horsepower, video capabilities and security needs of business in mind.
  3. Built secure: Standardization makes it easier for IT to get a handle on security must-haves for devices its employees are using – features like encrypted network connectivity, data synchronization, remote wiping and locking, for instance.
  4. Better management: Managing any of these devices is essential. Symantec and other providers offer rich and more secure Mobile Device Management options, particularly for enterprise-class devices, like Over-the-Air updating.
  5. Helpdesk to the rescue: Standardization with enterprise-class machines can be a more attractive option for employees when something goes wrong. Their company’s helpdesk can assist them right away, resolve issues in a timely manner or replace a tablet for free if it’s lost or stolen.

The tug and pull between BYOD and standardization will likely continue for some time as IT looks for a happy medium between the productivity tools employees want and the security, ease of management and ROI enterprises need. The likely meeting point will be one that gives users flexibility and freedom but with some constraints, compliance and standardization rules. For instance, standard corporate devices might be positioned as the preferred option within an organization, while consumer ones are welcomed as long as they’re enterprise-class quality and subject to rigorous monitoring and security policies.

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet: The best of both worlds?

As tablets continue their rise within the corporate environment, at least one enterprise- class device is getting some well-deserved attention. The ThinkPad Tablet is a business tablet that does it all – and does it well.

made for business: The ThinkPad Tablet’s powerful Android 3.1 OS delivers professional multimedia. It gets work done safely and securely with specially-enabled business apps. And it makes it easy for IT to protect confidential data with robust security features, including full device and SD card encryption, lost device disablement and anti-theft software.

Simple to share: It’s easy to transfer data to and from your PC with a micro-USB port or share files across devices with the built-in, full-size SD card reader, full-size USB port and Lenovo’s unique file copy utility. Even save, sync and share large files between team members and offices with integrated cloud storage.

Pen mightier than the finger: The ThinkPad Tablet’s ingenious stylus is probably the feature that gets the most attention, and for good reason. Satisfying the need by many to jot down notes instead of typing them, the stylus and its convenient user interface put the spiral notebook on notice.

The Lenovo ThinkPad could be the perfect compromise for employees demanding a handsome, professional and easy-to-use tablet on the go and IT’s need for a machine that can be supported quickly, easily, remotely and securely.

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