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Alexandra Zagury

By Alexandra Zagury, MD for South and Southern Africa at Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind BlackBerry

Consumerisation of IT - the trend of end-users bringing their own technologies to work - has changed the world in which CIOs and IT managers operate. Today, they're not as able to dictate platforms and standards to their mobile users as they were five years ago.

Yet they're still expected to ensure that users are productive and information is secure on devices that are often owned and controlled by employees rather than the enterprise. Here are a few factors that IT managers should be thinking about as they roll out mobile strategies and choose their core platforms. 

Living in a multi-platform world

Consumerisation means that IT departments are faced with the challenge of centrally managing several mobile platforms simultaneously. IT managers should be looking for cross-platform mobile device management (MDM) solutions to ensure that their mobile employees can be productive without compromising enterprise governance and information security.

A good MDM solution will offer a single console to manage and control all devices. One such solution is the new BlackBerry® Mobile Fusion solution that brings together the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server (version 5.0.3) for BlackBerry® smartphones; new management capabilities for BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablets built on BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology; and mobile device management for smartphones and tablets running Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

Separating the professional from the personal

A major headache for CIOs and IT managers is preventing the accidental leakage of data from smartphones and tablet computers when employees use these devices in both their personal and professional lives. RIM is helping managers address this with tools such as BlackBerry® Balance™ technology, which enables businesses to protect their assets while letting employees install their favourite applications.

BlackBerry Balance is designed to separate corporate and personal data within the operating system of BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. This ensures, for example, that a user can't copy and paste data from a work app into a personal app. This prevents accidental or deliberate sharing of company data through the user's personal email or social media accounts.

Securing information assets

Mobile devices can be easily lost or stolen so companies need to take steps to secure data stored on the devices and prevent unauthorised users from accessing corporate networks. Companies need to look for end-to-end solutions, from on-device features to centralised management of end-user handsets and tablets.

Some features to look for include the ability to protect corporate data stored on devices using strong encryption methods; IT controls to remotely lock, wipe or de-register devices in the event that they are lost or stolen; and the ability to wirelessly adjust security levels up or down or implement new policies without needing to touch devices.

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