Big data is here. CTOs and CIOs are not unfamiliar with the art of managing humongous amounts of data but big data definitely demands some new strategies and controls. Blogs, social media, and websites generate petabytes of unstructured data that is an invaluable source of information if mined correctly. Consumer friendly smartphones and tablets are principal vehicles of unstructured data because of their near constant availability and ease of use.
IT tools and personnel have to be discerning to sieve important and relevant inputs from the deluge of information. It’s a profitable exercise though as retailers and service vendors can improve operating margins by up to 60% on the basis of the filtered info.
Along with big data, another kind of pressure is stressing IT departments. It comes in the form of mobile devices, especially iPad and iPhone. There is a proliferation of both kinds of devices in corporate and subsequently, a rising demand among executives for free and quick access to enterprise data for faster turnaround. Like it or not, these consumer based devices have entered the enterprise zone and IT departments must innovate, strategize, and build apps and tools to maintain security standards and data privacy on them.
IT departments walk a fine thread, balancing security and data access policies with users’ freedom. iPads and iPhones, commonly used for checking corporate email, could soon be used for corporate video conferencing, accessing sales data, and the like. Organizations have to be ready to handle that kind of traffic. At the same time, IT administrators have to implement security policies without preventing access to App Store or restricting similar activities on iPad to keep users’ resentment in check.
Corporate data security officers are faced with a hard challenge. Restrictive policies that can easily be implemented on desktops, laptops, and notebooks cannot be simply loaded off to the iPad. Yet, some smart IT managers have managed to strike that balance. CIO Dick Escue of RehabCare, believes iPad is ready for enterprise primetime. His hospital group creates iOSapps for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad with ‘internal and external legal and compliance departments reviewing every single thing.’
According to Edge, writer of two books on IT security, ‘We’ve had a few hurdles with some of the various types of SSL certificates you find out there. But overall, we’ve been able to leverage MDM or various apps and have been able to meet the security needs of most environments [on iPad and iPhone].’
Enterprises and third party service providers are hard at work building solutions for iPad and iPhone for an easy and secure transition of the devices into the enterprise space. Enterprise apps for mobile should satisfy criteria that include easy import of data (from native formats such as spreadsheets or SQL database); optimization of forms, etc., for the small screen; effective rendering of visual data including charts, diagrams, lists, etc.; editing and combining features across various media including text, images, PDF, etc.; seamless connection to live systems for real time information and download options for offline viewing; administrative tools for IT staffers; and a quick development cycle.
It’s a tough time for IT managers but what new technology does not bring its share of risks? Big data on portable enterprise devices is the next step forward. It is wiser for enterprises to get ready for the future rather than shy away from what is inevitable.
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