Consumer-powered IT is rapidly blurring the distinction between home and workplace, and creating new security headaches for businesses.
A recent study, sponsored by Unisys, says a "fourth wave” of productivity is being driven by workers who are constantly connected, and expect to move seamlessly between their home and work environments, ideally using the same devices.
But the study exposes a troubling gap between the activities and expectations of new generations of ‘iWorkers’ and their employers’ readiness to manage, secure, and support this movement – and capitalise on it, boosting productivity with new ways of connecting and sharing, staying competitive as an innovative company and workplace, and delivering IT flexibly while managing security.
Organisations, the study says, are still largely operating in the standardised, command-and-control IT models of the past. Those models are very good at managing risks and costs, but they prevent the typical organisation from harnessing the full power of this new wave of productivity.
Among the solutions suggested:
Increased focus on consumer device security policy – Such policy changes will likely focus on authenticating the identities of device users and encrypting data as it traverses the network.
Biometric enablement of mobile devices – Unisys expects biometrics such as facial image or voice verification to be increasingly used in 2011 to verify the identities of mobile device users, in addition to the more traditional user ID or password.
Business continuity planning as a defence against cyber attacks – With dependence on internet communication continuing to grow, Unisys expects businesses to invest more in alternative paths such as automatic re-routing of communications from voice-over-IP to cellular or satellite for critical communications in the event of an internet outage.
Location-based security – In 2011 Unisys predicts that organisations will begin to exploit location-based technologies such as global positioning systems as a means of securing employee access to sensitive business data and systems, as well as tracking staff who are mostly on the road during work hours.