Increasingly desktop motherboards are coming with a slot for a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), and hardware-based encryption is generally advised for corporate data. A configuration with an easily added TPM and software for a nominal charge or one where an additional TPM-enabled hard drive perhaps a high capacity flash drive could be used for the corporate image. This would address the need nicely.
Bundled connectivity and services would seem a natural for a service that rolled to market, initially Wi-Fi hotspots and eventually with WiMax or LTE. This would allow notebooks to ease into a version of the Smartphone model and allow employees with something distinct that could be easily expensed.
If not managed properly recovery of company intellectual assets could, and likely are, becoming increasingly compromised.
Granted, employees who are thinking of departing are likely making copies of critical files anyway against company policy. But at least there is currently some protection for terminations (though even here laptops and remote workers have always been problematic).
Network Access Control and Anti-Malware requirements can be problematic, further suggesting the virtual machine approach above. Of course much of this can be mitigated by a more aggressive Web-based model where all devices are treated like they are remote, and access to company resources are through a secure browser connection.
But conformance to security policy with employee owned hardware needs to be fully thought through (and probably isnt today even though employees are likely gaining access with it).
Theft exposure for employee hardware stolen from company premises needs to be considered for site insurance as the firm is likely at least partially liable for it if the stuff is stolen or lost as part of a fire or other disaster.
Wrapping Up: Change is Inevitable
It is becoming increasingly clear that the successful IT manager of tomorrow will need to manage an increasingly diverse selection of services that come with fees, that are free, and that are actually partially funded by employees.
The most successful will be the ones that husband their own funds most successfully without putting their companies at excessive risk. This last part will likely become increasingly important as the same drivers that tanked the financial market, competing with other similar organizations, could drive organizations to take unreasonable risks.
Thinking through ahead of time how to mitigate the risks and which are reasonable will likely pay dividends in the end, with both happier employees and defensible budgets. One of those areas is employee ownership of PCs which is happening now regardless and could provide benefits to both the employees and the strapped IT organizations if done properly. Doing it properly is the key.
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