The consumer at the workplace

Hearing about today's major Apple iPhone vulnerability revelation brought me back to a concept SC Magazine has not written about as much as it should have: The "consumerization of IT."

Gartner has labeled it one of the true make-me-or-break-me trends businesses will be facing going forward, and the iPhone is a fine example of what continues to march down the pike. The iPhone was clearly created for the consumer - as most Apple products are - but it opens the door to a not-yet-understood series of risks when introduced into the corporate environment.

Businesses are not only losing control and visibility because of these unknown devices (also: iPods, USB sticks) connecting to the network but also because of the hundreds of consumer-designed applications that end-users are downloading onto their work PCs, programs such as iTunes and instant messenger. They're often downloaded with neither permission nor knowledge from IT.

It's a serious enough problem that a number of vendors, including FaceTime and the recently launched Palo Alto Networks, have created solutions to address it.

But it's not all bad news. This consumerization of IT lowers costs for businesses and improves capabilities for workers. So, that means, IT will have to strike a delicate balance, finding the right harmony between security and functionality.

Just another item to add to the security professional's "To Do" list.

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