The beginning of a new year is a time for businesses to look forward and prepare for the year to come, something the onslaught of predictions and year-end reviews aim to help with. And yet, new data about mobile devices trends can challenge how prepared companies are in protecting information shared across smartphones and tablets.

The Rise of Tablets

Consider the following data:

  • The number of shipped tablets is set to jump from 16.1 million units (of which around one million were bought by businesses) in 2010, to147.2 million in 2015, thereby representing around a third of all online US consumers, according to Forrester.
  • New Pew Internet research indicates that in the U.S., tablet ownership nearly doubled from 10% to 19% from December 2011 to January 2012. In the same period, the aggregate number of people who own either a tablet or e-reader has grown from 18% to 29%.

While exciting to imagine that, in just a few years, we’ll be able to control most everything from our mobile device, most companies find themselves curled up in the fetal position contemplating what this means from a security and management perspective.

10 Questions for Mobile Device Management

In October,  an infographic that detailed the current state of tablet adoption at work was released. The State of Tablet Adoption at Work reveals more employees are using personal tablet devices for work and that tablet usage in enterprise was not dissimilar to that of the everyday consumer.

In December, Martin White declared

I think it is about time that we started to think in more detail about the technology of the digital workplace and about the cultural changes that will need to be addressed. A few things are fairly certain. The digital workplace will need to support mobile devices, though given the changes we have seen over the last two years, it would be unwise to think they will just be smarter smartphones.

Zenprise agrees. In a recent white paper, the mobile device management company outlined the Ten 'Must-Haves' for Secure Mobile Device Management. Among their recommendations are ten questions the enterprise must ask any mobile device management solution vendor they’re considering to ensure they get the level of security they need.

Questions like Does your solution feature end-to-end security across mobile devices, apps, the network, and data? and Can your solution monitor and profile mobile network traffic and user behavior, and can we integrate it with our Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution? address issues associated with providing IT with real-time visibility into mobile network traffic and user behavior. To address employ work habits, Zenprise encourages companies to ask Can your solution scale to support multiple locations and all of my employees? and Does your solution feature flexible deployment options?

These questions not only guarantee that you’ll be speaking the same language as your vendor, but that you’re asking the questions that will help you meet the needs of your employees, while appeasing IT. The growth of mobile devices in the workplace need not be a scary endeavor. With the right preparation and strategies, you can diminish the risk and embrace the mobile device evolution for the innovation they are likely to bring.