As GCHQ release their guidelines for smartphones, some critics have had a field day. The Daily Telegraph’s language is a little spiky whereas IT Pro goes down the Blackberry flag-waving stance. Whatever your view, this space will continue to move rapidly, but actually, on reflection, have we not been here before?
Many years ago I recall much wailing and gnashing of teeth over laptops. If you take the rationale for purchase away from the consumerisation issue, we are still trying to make our staff more mobile to allow them to be more productive and make their (and our) lives easier. And the requirements remain the same: Secure, Control and Audit.
Sophos will be talking about its Sophos Secure Mobile Security solution at InfoSec next week. We’ve been racking our brains on this one for a while, and believe that we have pretty much nailed it. Its available for Android, Windows Mobile and IOS and is, as traditional with Sophos, dead easy to use. And it fits into the guidelines issued by GCHQ/CESG.
The whole consumerisation topic is a bit like Gloucestershire’s second favourite thing*, Cheese Rolling. It started off slowly, but is now spinning madly down a vertiginous drop, while a group of people, limbs flailing helplessly, try and catch up. There will be casualties, a few breakages, and the people sat watching at the sides will keel over laughing, all the while wishing they were involved.
As a Gloucester resident, I can safely say that Coopers Hill (where they do the Cheese Rolling) is actually considerably steeper than it looks on the TV (this is office friendly), and the popping noises of people’s joints as the crash helplessly down the hill are all too loud. Again, the consumerisation analogy holds. And a bit like the wheel of Double Gloucester, consumerisation and mobility does not appear to be slowing up, or have much more than a vague general direction of travel.
Focusing back on consumerisation, it strikes me that there are actually two facets to the issue. Many people focus on people bringing their own kit to work and wanting to access corporate resources. However, there is a second issue which is often overlooked, which is organisation buying kit that was designed for the consumer space but using it as corporate tools. Quite often this kit is not ‘Enterprise Ready’ (I am certain an IT vendor uses this as a strap line, but I can’t remember who). By this I mean shipping with the right software on board to enable control, audit and remediation in the event of a problem. However you reach the destination, the problem is the same.
So as the spinning cheese of consumerisation crashes merrily into the fence at the bottom of the hill, followed by a jumble of crushed humanity, two things are certain. One is that this space will continue to leave a trail of metaphorical broken limbs. Two is that as fast as the likes of CESG and IT vendors release stuff to help, the market will continue to change.
*The first is GCHQ. The third are Old Spot Pigs