For the past several years, enterprise IT teams have been struggling to manage the challenges created by the proliferation of mobile devices and increasingly mobile workforces. It’s not just the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, in which workers use their personal smartphones and tablets for business purposes; there are other factors contributing to the scale of the IT management challenge, including employees using multiple devices (an average of 3.3 per person) and data increasingly spreading across all of these devices.
In addition to the need to manage a growing number of different devices across multiple platforms, IT also needs to address the risk of data at the edge, where vital company information resides outside the central data repository. Gartner estimates that 30% of data exists only on endpoints, and this challenge will grow as employees transfer more of their workloads to mobile devices. Tablets are quickly replacing laptops as the workhorse of choice for employees; Forrester predicts that tablet use will triple between 2013 and 2018, with more than a billion in operation worldwide. The use of tablets is projected to double in business environments.
This means organizations need to find solutions to govern the use of mobile devices and ensure data integrity. A recent Forrester survey found that 44% of IT and legal professionals believe that data on endpoints is at risk. In 2015 and beyond, organizations will increasingly focus on this data. Smart devices will grow as an area of focus for information governance, and this in part will drive increased spending on governance initiatives. IT teams will also look for new ways to manage data for eDiscovery and compliance purposes due to increasing regulations and litigation.
In the near future, more organizations will adopt centralized governance strategies in an effort to regain control of their data. The distributed nature of data makes this more challenging today. Many IT teams are currently engaged in identifying gaps in skills and resources and will turn to technology solutions to address their needs. New tools will emerge to help manage this fragmented data, providing IT a way to identify and manage corporate data. r-sighted IT organizations will adjust governance policies and beef up auditing capabilities as new issues emerge to stay ahead of the curve.
The challenges posed by device proliferation, mobility, and data dispersion—along with the increased awareness of endpoint devices as a governance risk—will drive organizations to employ solutions that give them full visibility and control of corporate endpoint data. Capabilities such as collection, search across all device data, and comprehensive audit trails will be necessary for organizations to respond to compliance and litigation requests
Just as importantly, IT teams are seeking technology solutions that help them protect and manage data across platforms and devices while delivering a positive user experience. In 2015 and the years to come, the ability to effectively balance data protection and governance needs with user functionality will be the measure of IT team success.