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What IT should consider before an enterprise tablet roll out

by Teresa Meek
 
Today’s workers expect 24/7 connectivity and devices that are easy to use. So should you buy everyone a tablet?

Not necessarily.

Tablet sales may be lagging as general consumers flock to supersized smartphone “phablets,” but the enterprise market is different. For higher-level enterprise tablets, which usually have larger screens, the picture looks brighter.

According to Strategy Analytics, while tablets with 7-inch screens are expected to lose market share through 2019, sales of enterprise tablets with 11-inch screens are expected to double during that time.1

Enterprise tablets are different in other ways, too. They are more expensive and better built, with aluminum, rather than plastic bodies, which makes them more rugged and allows heat to disperse better. Many have keyboard attachments. But are these tablets really built for a business setting?

If your IT department is considering introducing enterprise tablets to the device fleet, first stop and consider the following:

​Paired with the right backup and security solution, a tablet can be just as secure as any other mobile device in your fleet.

1. Security

When it comes to a mobile workforce, data security has to be top of mind for any IT professional. Of course, things are obviously more secure when technology remains on premise, but the reality of today’s workforce often sends employees (and your critical information) out of the office.

Today’s enterprise tablets are working to address the security concern with beefed-up security features. Enterprise-level tablets have more built-in security than your average consumer tablet, including a Trusted Platform Module (TMP): a specialized chip that embeds security features like drive encryption and password protection into the computer’s hardware instead of its software. Some also have fingerprint scanners or slots for authentication cards.

Paired with the right backup and security solution, a tablet can be just as secure as any other mobile device in your fleet. But remember: An organization is only as strong as its weakest link — which is usually workers’ personal devices. To protect your enterprise tablets and all of your critical information, make sure you have a strong bring-your-own device (BYOD) security policy in place.
 

2. Productivity

As the computing power of tablets and other mobile devices continues to increase, some people believe they will eventually replace desktop computers completely.

But don’t count on that anytime soon.

Use of tablets can vary widely depending on users' role within an organization. For example, workers in sales, who spend a lot of time on the road, and those in customer-facing retail locations, are likely to rely on tablets alone. Using enterprise tablets, they can create everything from website content to point-of-sale presentations.
 

3. Your employees

Tablets aren’t appropriate for everybody. They don’t offer enough power for market traders or software developers. And don’t even consider trying to use one as a wireless business router — it will send your data bill to the moon while generating an enormous amount of heat and causing potential security problems.

So who in your office should consider using enterprise tablets?

Managers who like reports and data visualization schematics are ideal candidates. They can use apps to generate all kinds of reports and charts themselves, freeing up IT staff to work on important projects. Designers can also use enterprise tablets to create marketing and advertising materials, as well as website design. Also, consider tablets for traveling sales people and marketers who can support them with collateral.

Develop your mobile device strategy

Establish standards for corporate document access, creation and editing from these devices — and meet all governance and compliance issues.
 

Mobile device strategy

Before diving into a new enterprise tablet roll out at your business, it’s best to create a mobile productivity app strategy. Establish standards for corporate document access, creation and editing from these devices, and then decide who needs them most — ensuring all governance and compliance issues are met.
 
Teresa Meek
Teresa Meek is a Seattle-based writer with 15 years’ experience in journalism. She has covered business, technology, health and culture, and has written for the Miami Herald, Newsday, the Baltimore Sun and the Seattle Times. She has also worked with a number of corporate clients, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft.
 
 
1  Eric Smith. "Tablet Display Size Shipment and Installed Base Forecast: 2010 - 2019." Strategy Analytics. https://www.strategyanalytics.com/access-services/devices/tablets/tablets/market-data/report-detail/q3-2015-tablet-display-size-shipment-and-installed-base-forecast-2010---2019#.WNLi9lXyt0x