by December 6, 2006 0 comments

Consider this: There are more cell phones in use today than there are
notebooks. Personal media players and portable gaming devices are joining a
burgeoning list of devices with large screens, wireless connectivity, storage
and processing capability. Chances are that if you check out the daily
accouterment of any average PC user, you are likely to find more than one of
these devices on him. And chances are that he is using them also to atleast
store some other files.

In my view, the next big challenge for IT professionals is going to be these
devices; how to extend your applications to them, how to integrate them into
existing networks, how to secure data on them and so on. Adding to the challenge
will be the quicker replacement cycles. A notebook or a PC was good for about
three years. Cellphones are being replaced in six months! And the chances of
device loss are much higher!

Krishna Kumar, Editor

Let us take these scenarios one by one.

As users turn more mobile, it is only natural that they would not just like
to, but probably need to access various applications on their devices. Do you
know how many different Operating Systems are run on just cell phones? How will
you get your applications to run on all of them? You will use and embedded
browser? Great. What about media players?

How will you synchronize data on these devices with that residing on your
network storage devices? What about tracking e-mail sent out from them? Have you
wargamed the scenario where data is stolen by copying out to flash cards?

Yet another headache will be data security. Consider the new mp3 player that
your director has just acquired. How will you secure the data that he now
prefers to copy on to it for backup?

What happens to the data when one of these devices go for repair?

As I write this, I know that most IT strategists and managers are not yet
greatly concerned about these issues. Many of you know that the situation
exists, but are ignoring it as nothing catastrophic has happened. Perhaps many
more are not even aware of the extent to which such devices have
already penetrated the networks.

The answer, unlike that classic, is not yet blowing in the winds; at least
not yet.

Technologies have to mature and platforms have to stabilize before standard
procedures can be evolved for handling this scenario. Till then we will have to
improvise on how to deal with it; what to allow what not to-what to support
and what to avoid. Till then, answers will have to be situation and even person

But, given the proliferation of devices with compute capability, there is no
doubting the big challenge before us – the integration and management of these
devices into the mainstream of computing, and having them coexist with or even
replace traditional PCs and notebooks.

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