Tablets are all the rage right now. Why shouldn’t they be? They provide good portability and connectivity. They fall right in between a cell phone (downside: limited screen space) and standard laptops (downside: weight, size, portability). Netbooks never truly took off the way I think we all thought they would. Running Windows on a netbook left something to be desired for performance.

Bring on the tablets. Slim and snappy OS kernels, flash memory, no moving parts, light weight and very portable. They are relatively cheap, and some can even connect via cellular signals and don’t need to rely just on WiFi (Apple iPad). These devices are slowly making their way into the enterprise environment. And why shouldn’t they? It definitely makes access to your office network much more convenient in more locations than ever before. IT support and security become an issue. Allow these devices on your office network? How much can we control them? How do we protect the office infrastructure?

Apple makes a nice utility for iPhone’s and iPad’s that allow IT personnel the ability to preconfigure VPN, Email, and WiFi settings. It can also remove the ability to download applications and/or music. You can even set a password policy – for both the end user, and to remove all of the configured settings. Blackberry has the ability to lock the device with a password via Enterprise console. Of course this means the phone must be powered on and connected to the mobile carrier, to receive those new settings.

Where is this for Android? Windows Mobile? Palm? Android in particular has 3rd party programs available, like MyLookout (free!). If you lose your phone, provided it’s powered on, MyLookout will track it via GPS. You can even wipe it remotely, or initiate an audible “scream” to help you find it or frighten whoever stole the phone.

Word to the wise – before allowing these devices on your office network, make sure you have adequate security protocols in place. Whether that is MyLookout, or the iPad configuration utility, etc. If you find yourself in a situation where a user lost their device (yes, it happens!), think of how you will respond to the situation, and start planning now for that!


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