Are we prepared for the “new” workforce? The necessity for secure, trusted access? Today more than ever, IT leaders are faced with difficult challenges around mobility – not just mobility devices, but mobility of the work force as well. The need to provide self-service style application access across multiple devices as well as the ability to securely protect and control corporate data while not hindering users’ personal resources can be overwhelming….especially while the retail marketplace ships newer devices with updated operating systems at a pace few can comprehend.
“Locking” down an employee personal device is not a viable solution in this ever-changing environment. To accomplish our respective goals, we need to change the way we think of computing and embrace not just the change of technology, but more importantly, the human change of how we interact with technology. As Tiffani Bova of Gartner stated, “we have ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants.'” The former have grown up with technology, such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets and possess a different skillset than “immigrants.” The way you provide apps and data to a “digital native” is very different in providing the same access to a person who has learned to use technology at a later age. To define clearly, our children and college students are the digital natives who will be entering the workforce with expectations we have yet to consider! Funny thing is if you ask a digital immigrant about cloud computing, you will most likely receive many different confusing answers. However, a digital native has already been embracing cloud-based solutions to access social media, music, movies, messaging, and more. The digital native doesn’t ask questions, such as “Is this secure?” They just want to know where they can consume the digital information they need.
So, are we at an inflection point? Do we yield to security concerns knowing that statistics say 31% of customers end their relationship with a company if they are affected by a security breach? Do we continue to provide mobile messaging without proper controls knowing that 20% of outbound messaging contains content which poses a legal, financial, or regulatory risk? Do we continue to dedicate large portions of our IT budgets to purchase and maintain corporate assets for end-users even though most users would prefer to use their own and be willing to share in the cost for the convenience of BYOD?
Although there is no singular answer to these questions, we do know that we, as IT leaders, must provide Secure, Trusted Access to our computing resources while continuing to be flexible in attracting the up and coming workforce. Separating the end-users’ personal cloud resources (iTunes, personal email, etc.) from the corporate provided resources is a high priority today that will continue to challenge us as new computing devices crowd our retail stores. Ignorance to the challenge will only multiply a rogue user community and cause a murky corporate security posture.
Embracing the changes with a clear solution methodology and imminent technology advancements will ensure a successful user population with the agility to compete in today’s competitive market and into the future.