The primary function of enterprise IT management is to empower end users with access to technology resources that will boost their productivity and job performance. However, this focus is at odds with the core precepts of IT security which are adopted to minimize the exposure of enterprise systems, applications, and data. I recall that in a number of IT operations management adventures throughout my career, I often joked with colleagues that the most effective way to create a secure environment is to simply shut down all computers in the data center. Naturally, management executives dependent on the IT infrastructure to generate revenue were not amused by my flippancy…and even less happy that their workers had to “jump through hoops” to gain access to IT resources.
IT administration is a thankless job. Let’s face it—the only time admins gain any recognition is when something goes wrong. In fact, the most successful IT administrators proactively manage very stable environments where very few failures and performance degradations occur. Unfortunately, though, this is rarely the case, and it is far more common for admins to get stuck in the break/fix cycle of reactive “firefighting” where problems are never truly resolved and are destined to occur again. Making matters worse, increasing requirements for mobility, business agility, high performance, and high availability have substantially increased IT administrator workloads. With this kind of pressure, it’s no wonder IT professionals are frustrated.
When people think of IT mobility, the images most immediately conjured regard smartphones and tablets. In truth, however the mobile device landscape could be considered broader than this. The basic definition of a mobile device is simply “any computing device designed principally for portability.” By that definition, laptops should clearly be included in that scope. However, some definitions state that a mobile device must be “handheld” indicating size is a factor without actually specifying how small a device must be to achieve that designation. Regardless of size limitations, those definitions still favor inclusion of laptops since many are available with a form facture that is smaller than some of the larger tablets. Therefore, the defining descriptor for a mobile device must fall to its portability, which also happens to be the key differentiator between a laptop and a desktop PC. Logically, therefor, a laptop is, in fact, a mobile device.