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SearchDomino.com: What are some principal issues you see when organizations using Lotus Notes Domino begin deploying mobile devices?
Michael Osterman: There are actually a lot of problems associated with mobile messaging, but really, probably not much more than deploying any other infrastructure element. We did a study last year, for example, and we asked people about the problems they experienced in managing mobile messaging devices and device infrastructures. We found out that training is one of the more serious issues; for example, making sure employees use mobile devices properly. Also, helping users access corporate data repositories from a mobile device and …the loss of mobile devices themselves. The devices are very easy to lose. Studies have shown that people do lose their mobile devices on a fairly regular basis. So, the potential loss of corporate data that can ensue if you do happen to lose a mobile device is a very serious problem.
We found that in the research we did last year, 27% of IT decision makers in mid-size and large companies said that [losing their mobile device] was either "serious" or "very serious" for them. So you need to get into issues such as remote data wipes and so forth. Mobile devices and mobile infrastructures create a number of problems for organizations; but certainly, the benefits in almost every case outweigh those problems.
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SearchDomino.com: In your research, what kind of mobile adoption rates are you seeing in Notes Domino organizations?
Osterman: We did a study that focused on mid-sized and large organizations and found that today about 20% of users are employing wireless handhelds to access email in their organizations. We see that going to about 27% in 2009, and about 36% by 2010. Certainly, the use of mobile devices is all over the map. We find some organizations where virtually everyone has a mobile device, and, in other organizations, there are virtually none. But these are pretty good industry averages for Notes Domino shops -- and others as well.
SearchDomino.com: What types of security issues are Notes Domino organizations running into when deploying mobile devices?
Osterman: The biggest [security issue] really is the potential loss of the device itself. Because mobile devices are used for work applications, because people download data, check email and so forth, they contain a lot of corporate data -- usually at least the last three to five day's worth of email, critical documents that people work on while their traveling and so forth. So, just losing the device means that you've lost a lot of the data that users employ.
Because mobile device users tend to be higher-profile users in the organization -- senior managers, sales people -- the data that they're likely to have, that they're likely to use on a mobile device, is usually more sensitive information than [it would be] for the average employee in the company.
Also, maintaining the availability of those devices is very critical. Because mobile devices are used by people at airports, and during windows of time, the availability has to be very high. It's not so much a security issue, as it is a management problem. In terms of other security issues, you've got issues around increasing the number of end points in the network. If somebody does happen to get a virus, worm, or a Trojan on a mobile device, that can make its way very quickly back into the corporate network.
You have to provide security on the devices themselves and on the servers that manage those devices. There are really a variety of issues related to mobile devices that really impact the entire organization, similar to what you have to do with desktop clients. You have to make sure that desktops are protected from all sorts of threats, as you would with mobile devices.
Michael D. Osterman is president, founder and principal of Osterman Research, Inc. He has more than 20 years experience in the market research industry, conducting research for a wide variety of technology-based clients, including IBM Lotus, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, USinternetworking and Qwest, among many others. Mr. Osterman has written numerous articles for a variety of trade publications and is a panelist and speaker at various industry- and vendor-sponsored events.