Tablet Support Will Be IT's Next Challenge
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As tablets become more common in the workplace, new research shows an increasing need for IT professionals to support their use.
More than 20 percent of U.S. employees ask to use a company-owned tablet, the most of any country globally, the surveyed found. Additionally, U.S. senior executives are more likely than their peers in other countries to be issued a tablet. Those in the U.K. are least likely to get one.
Despite having the most experience managing tablets, the study found that IT professionals in the U.S are the most concerned about securing them. Three-quarters of the IT managers surveyed in the U.S. said new rules must be established around tablet security and device usage.
Worldwide, 75 percent of IT managers said work-issued tablets must have email and document-sharing capabilities. Other services needed for a business tablet include video conferencing, instant messaging, access to company databases and seamless synchronization with other business devices.
"Mobile workers and virtual workspaces are here to stay — but so are the demands on IT to continue to ensure enterprise-grade security, manageability and interoperability," said Tom Puorro, director of product management for Cisco Systems.
With personal tablet use increasing rapidly, many businesses are seeing employees using their own devices on the job. More than half of the surveyed businesses said they've seen an increase in the number of employees bringing their own devices to work.
But many are doing so without the consent of their employer. Employees in the U.S. led the way globally, with 64 percent using their own tablets and other devices without their boss's approval.
That can cause a number of problems for businesses, the research found, including the inability to access company servers securely, and the diversion of IT staff's attention from other important projects.
The study was based on surveys of 1,500 IT managers and executives in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany and Spain.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter before working in public relations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.