The business bite from the next Apple launch


Apple fans across the world are impatiently waiting for confirmation of the general release of the iPad 2. Whilst the new device looks set to be a big hit with consumers, it could prove to be a huge headache for businesses if they haven’t already established guidelines for consumer gadgets in the workplace. A recent study of 5,000 office workers discovered that 74 per cent of employees use personal gadgets for work purposes. Across the UK this equates to 8.5 million people.

The new tablet is expected to be even more aligned to the business market, with rumours of a USB and dual-core processor circulating on the internet. With Apple’s most recent update to the iPad’s operating software bolstering the device’s business credentials significantly with wireless printing and multi-application viewing, it’s clear that Steve Jobs’ firm is intent on making the iPad enterprise friendly.

With the launch of the iPad 2, the boundaries between what is a ‘work’ gadget and what isn’t have blurred even further. With the consumerisation of IT, there are two key concerns for business. Firstly, that this is yet another channel via which corporate data can be stolen or misused and secondly will the corporate network take the strain?

Developing clear usage policies and educating employees so that they understand why these practices are in place is key. Most organisations are happy for employees to use personal gadgets, such as iPads, as long as they register the device with IT in order to have the right security settings installed.

Knowing which employees are using which devices on the network will help businesses support staff, ensure confidential information is kept safe and that corporate networks grow with demand and continue to be an enabler for business rather than a barrier. Once the ground rules have been set, employees can show off their new purchases, without having to worry.

Mark Heraghty was appointed as Managing Director for Virgin Media Business in June 2009. He leads the Business Division’s senior management team with direct responsibilities for the leadership of sales, marketing, product management and customer operations in the UK business market with a focus on spearheading growth. He is one of the most experienced and capable business-to-business telecoms executives in the UK and brings with him a wealth of knowledge. Mark has been involved with the telecommunications industry for the last 17 years, previously as CEO UK and Europe for Cable and Wireless and more recently with Reliance Globalcom, where he was President EMEA, with regional responsibility for the former FLAG Telecom and Vanco businesses that Reliance acquired in 2004 and 2008. Mark holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Trinity College Dublin (1985) and an MBA awarded by Warwick University Business School (1992).