Unlocking the iPhone at work

Unlocking the iPhone at work

John Herrema
John Herrema

John Herrema, CMO of Good Technology, on security, the key to unlocking the iPhone’s success in the workplace.

The iPhone has been a spectacular consumer success, making it one of the most adopted devices worldwide. Now it seems consumers are demanding that their iPhone can be used at work, and the use of iPhones for business is growing exponentially.

In fact financial institutions like Standard Chartered Bank have already made the transition. As Ken Dulaney, an analyst for research firm Gartner, said: “I am getting five calls a week from companies looking for advice on integrating the iPhone into their networks. That is up from one call every two weeks, about 18 months ago. The calls are pouring in because company employees are begging to integrate their new Apple smartphones.”

Bye bye BlackBerry

BlackBerry’s have been the business device of choice, but the truth is that corporations are starting to adopt other smartphones like the iPhone, HTC, and handsets running Google’s Android operating system. Research commissioned by Good Technology found that companies are putting pressure on IT managers to support new smartphones such as Android and Palm Pre.

Additionally, Vanson Bourne, an independent market research specialist, surveyed 100 UK businesses with 500 employees or more. The results show a rebellion in the making. Nearly 80% of organisations reported an increase in the number of employees wanting to bring their own devices into the workplace in the last 6-12 months.

In addition to current platform rebellion, Apple’s iPad also made a recent entry into the market and statistics reveal that it has sold over two million units in sixty days. With its extensive use of features, email facility and e-reading it is likely that soon enough the iPad will emulate the success of the iPhone.

Similarly, individuals who already have an agreed personal data tariff and their preferred handset are wanting to use their device of choice for work. However, in the past there has been a lack of software that enables IT departments to remotely monitor phones running a number of mobile platforms.


Mobilise the workforce

Companies are eyeing other ways to mobilise their workforce beyond email, perhaps through corporate instant messaging or applications related to Microsoft’s Web collaboration service SharePoint, for example, as well as specific company apps.

Phone manufacturers and mobile operators want to build and deploy applications across multiple platforms. The same applications that a consumer uses at home or a businessman has on his laptop, are ultimately what they want to have on their mobile device. The desktop experience needs to be reciprocated on a mobile device.

Mirroring this experience on a mobile device allows carriers to add value to their service. Organisations now have to respond to employees demands regarding their business phone, they no longer want to carry around two phones, or be forced into using a blackberry. While organisations seek a solution to this new multi platform work force, manufacturers and operators must provide.


Tough security needed

There is one uniting inhibitor which has slowed the adoption of mobile applications, and the choice of devices available to companies: security. Operators want to provide customers the ability to maximise personal and business productivity by providing secure and easy to use instant mobile access to data, applications and services on hundreds of mobile devices.

Security is paramount for this, and operators should have the means to embrace device diversity, be able to support various operating systems and devices, thereby empowering enterprises to allow employees to securely access corporate networks through the device of their choice.

The issue of security is also extremely important to the organisations themselves, with the consumerisation of smartphones comes a bigger risk of data loss, data breach and various other risks. By identifying the issue IT departments are able to address the risks and allow employees to use which ever smartphone they choose too within the office.

With many new mobile phone platforms emerging, and staff wanting to cross the divide of consumer and corporate device use, companies need to be forward thinking. The ability to access securely sensitive information without the back up of a server is a challenge that the IT department must face.

Good Technology bridges the gap between social and secure, protecting business and personal information so that mobile users can connect and collaborate on today’s most popular smartphones. http://www.good.com/

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