Do iPads and media tablets have a place in the enterprise?

Do iPads and media tablets have a place in the enterprise?

Gartner research VP, Leslie Fiering, weighs in on the pros and cons of tablet adoption at businesses

iPads and media tablets are not the be all, end all, solution for enterprises wanting to access data while on the move, warns Gartner research VP, Leslie Fiering.

The potential pitfalls of tablet adoption by enterprises were highlighted by Fiering during her speech at Gartner’s 2012 APAC IT Infrastructure, Operations and Data Centre Summit in Sydney.

While many workers have been quick to adopt tablets for work, there is the issue of formatting of data potentially being lost despite the data itself being intact.

“Fidelity problems between media tablets and Windows may cause formatting loss,” Fiering said.

She also stressed that introducing all media tablet users to hosted virtual desktops is a "not a universal solution" as it is not available for offline use.

“The Windows click and drag interface, designed for mouse or stylus, is clumsy in a multitouch UI,” Fiering said.

“Cluttered or badly designed Windows applications can also be difficult to use on a ten inch screen.”

There is also the issue of how to determine the most appropriate Microsoft licensing model, as even a user-owned tablet "may require enterprise software licensing,” according to Fiering.

Despite the cautions, she admits that iPads and media tablets are becoming “an important enterprise platform”, especially as network companions and for sectors such as sales, marketing and education.

Fiering recommends that businesses focus first on initiatives that increase endpoint independence.

“Security and data protection are important and should consist of isolating and securing enterprises’ digital assets,” she said.

“Applying managed diversity and updating policies to cover new use cases is also required.”

Businesses should consider what mobile device managers (MDM) they will implement, and also whether it will be group policy managers versus containers, as Fiering views MDMs as “critical tools for providing security and management.”

As tablets continue to take off in the enterprise, Fiering’s suggests that certain measures should be taken when enacting an “action plan.”

“Prepare for the fact that media tablets are already in your enterprise and on your networks,” she said.

“Also, recognise that media tablets are not the equivalent of fully featured notebooks.”

She also recommends leveraging the “unique capabilities” of media tablets to support enterprise roles and processes while keeping security in mind at all times.

“Embrace media tablets and provide appropriate levels of security and support for all the different users in your enterprise,” she said.

“This means adopting MDMs and network level controls for security and manageability.”

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