Presents bring challenges for IT managers

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I got a new smartphone for Christmas. I bet I'm not alone in receiving an attractive, new mobile device as a present, although tablets appear to be a more popular choice than smartphones.

More tablets than smartphones were activated on Christmas day. The winners were Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPads, iPad Minis, and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle Fire HD tablets, according to Flurry stats cited by The Guardian newspaper.

Flurry predicts that mobile app downloads could surpass two billion for the first time ever. In addition, The Guardian conducted an analysis of Twitter and found that Apple iPads won the contest for "first tweet" from a tablet over the 24 hour span beginning Christmas Eve, followed by the Amazon Kindle, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nexus, and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Surface.

Many of the people who received new tablets and smartphones for the holidays will likely bring those devices to work this week. So IT managers need to brace for the mobile device onslaught.

As I have noted before in articles and Editor's Corners, personal devices at work pose a number of security and support challenges. IT managers are particularly concerned about employees accessing sensitive corporate data using personal mobile devices. In addition, the flood of personal devices threatens to overwhelm IT infrastructure and staff.

A recent Twitter poll by Globo found that less than one-third of companies have a BYOD policy to govern how employees use their personal mobile devices. This lack of a policy means that a lot of what IT managers are doing to cope with the influx is ad hoc, with no long-term strategy in mind.

Perhaps the flood of new mobile devices in the workplace this week will provide an excellent opportunity for enterprises without a BYOD policy to develop one. Despite some claims to the contrary, BYOD is here to stay. Feet-dragging on this issue will only lead to great problems down the line. - Fred