The Tablet – A 5th Columnist?

Posted on March 24, 2011


Computerworld reports – IT executives expect their support requirements to increase significantly once workers begin using the iPad 2 on the job. This is backed up by the Info tech Research Group in their article 2011 ‘The Year of the Tablet’.

The growing acceptance that these are information consumption devices rather than information creation devices will take a while to hit home for many. Until such time expect these to muscle in on traditional information creation devices for the foreseeable future.

Tablets are being driven by consumer rather than business realities in mind, with Apple as the primary vendor in this space engaging in what is little more than a high risk strategic race for market share and user’s hearts and minds with little apparent regard for real world consequences

Apples focus on usability and design aesthetics is commendable, but their silence on the lack of maturity in the incumbent iOS (Operating System Software) to handle modern day security threats fosters an attack surface from an unsuspecting audience. Hiding behind their consumer focus agenda is little comfort for the Security Officer’s in large enterprises confronted with senior management insisting on the adopting of such consumer ‘IT candy’, leaving many enterprises out on a limb is.

The iPad phenomenon is just another wave of consumer IT placing unreasonable pressures on Enterprise IT to adopt lower standards. These devices in the absence of Enterprise grade management tools are little more than nascent Hardware Trojan Horse platforms.

Whilst not all tablets are born alike there is an uncommonly worrying thread of compromising symptoms across many of the early market leaders.

Google ‘s free Android platform is driving market share at a software level and doing a commendable job at demonstrating how easy it is to take advantage of the good will of users to further their own commercial gains. With privacy and data security clearly well down the list of priorities, Android has become the mobile and tablet software platform of choice for hackers.

With RIM as a side show in the tablet stakes so far, their pedigree in providing secure mobile platforms has yet to be capitalised on in the Tablet space.

Then last but not least the canny Microsoft bandwagon. As in new market and product areas in the past, Microsoft plays a patient back game. In reality they will probably only really come into play with the Windows 8 product family, designed to support OS on a chip and the new age of tablet interfaces, we will see a wealth of enterprise experience brought into focus.

For now Enterprises will have to baton down the hatches and weather the storm of the common sense override being imposed on them by the next wave of consumer ‘IT Candy’.

One gleam of light on the horizon is Mcirosoft dpong what they do best and that is Software, look out for the , System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012, which will let users manage iPads and iPhones. Read more at ‘Microsoft readies tool for managing iPads, iPhones and Android devices’.