Mobile devices should be welcomed and supported as they become part of the enterprise hardware landscape, according to a report from Forrester Research.
IT is becoming more consumerised, the analyst firm said, and enterprises are having to accept and support hardware brought into the premises by workers.
Forrester named BlackBerry, Android and Apple iOS devices as the ones to support for now, but said that policies should be revisited annually.
"The smartphone landscape has evolved dramatically over the past 12 months. BlackBerry's relentless assault, the iPhone's maturation of management features, and Android's device and carrier proliferation drive the evolution," said Forrester analysts Benjamin Gray and Christian Kane.
"The days are numbered for limiting support to a single mobile operating system and not enabling workers with email and business resources on individually liable smartphones."
BlackBerry is the "gold standard for management and security", according to the report, and is supported by 70 per cent of enterprises, while Apple's iOS has grown from a consumer operating system into one capable of serving enterprises with a range of applications.
Almost 30 per cent of companies support iOS, making it the third most popular software after Windows Mobile. But Forrester added that Microsoft's option is soon to become "legacy".
Android, supported by some 13 per cent of enterprises, comes with some caveats, the report said, including lack of full disk encryption and removable storage encryption, and limited software control.
Opening the enterprise to new devices raises other considerations, and Forrester said that IT security decision makers had identified smartphones as their greatest concern from a security and IT risk perspective.
Unpredictable costs and a potentially confusing mobile development landscape will also cause some concerns.
Enterprises should carefully craft procedures and policies that support the use of such devices, as doing so will improve their management and reduce their negative impact.
Operating systems that could be considered in the future include Windows Phone 7, HP's WebOS and Nokia and Intel's Meego, noted the report.
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