Hardly a day has gone by recently without some new announcement hitting my inbox regarding the consumerisation of IT, which is an inevitable trend that enterprises have to give into or face up to the dire consequences - if you can believe the proponents of the idea.
However, I'm not so sure this is really a new development at all, never mind that it represents a seismic shift in the way IT is delivered in an enterprise environment.
Speaking as someone who spent most of the last decade covering the endpoint side of enterprise computing, including mobile technology, I've heard plenty of predictions saying that organisations will be forced to drastically re-align their entire IT strategy around mobility.
Such predictions often come from mobile application developers or those flogging mobile management tools, of course.
However instead, what we've seen so far is a gradual adoption of mobile technology, with mobile email the initial killer application, followed by mobile access to key enterprise applications for some workers, such as travelling sales execs.
More recently cloud services have made it easier to access applications and data without requiring convoluted ways for workers to get inside the corporate firewall from outside.
What has changed in the last few years is the rising popularity of smartphones, but workers' using their own mobile handset instead of a company supplied model has been happening for years.
Also little new is the clandestine adoption of alternative technologies by workers, in order to meet some specific requirement that is not being met or is actively proscribed by their IT department.
The use of USB memory sticks for backup or to take documents home fits this category, and has been regularly flagged as a potential security risk for nearly a decade. This hasn't prevented a stream of data loss incidents involving unencrypted sensitive information on USB drives from hitting the headlines.
Meanwhile, the concept of ‘the consumerisation of IT' seems to consist of at least two distinct ideas: that businesses are turning to consumer technology to meet their needs rather than a comparable product from an enterprise vendor; and that employees are purchasing their own devices and insisting on being able to use these in the workplace - the so called ‘bring your own device' (BYOD) trend.
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