Consumerization of IT (“consumerization”) is a phrase used to describe the cycle of information technology (IT) emerging in the consumer market, then spreading to business and government organizations, largely because employees are using the popular “consumer market” technologies and devices at home and then introducing them in the workplace.
Consumerization of IT Security Concerns
Consumerization of IT not only refers to the use of personal consumer electronics at work — like iPhones and tablet PCs — but also online services, including online data storage, Web-based email services (“web mail“), and social media or social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Consumerization of IT is driven by employees who buy their own devices, use their own personal online service accounts, install their own applications and then connect to the corporate network with the device, often without the organization’s knowledge or approval.
For small business, corporate and government organizations, the biggest challenge for IT is that employees using unapproved technologies and devices at work is a network security risk, but even with that understanding is the knowledge that these devices will still come in to the workplace and be used by employees, even if corporate security policies are in place.
Companies Embrace Consumerization of IT
Many companies today have realized that by embracing the consumerization of IT, this will not only save money and increase business agility, but also improve employee productivity.
One popular initiative is called BYOD (“bring your own device”). This phrase has become widely adopted to refer to mobile workers bringing their own mobile devices, such as smartphones, laptops and PDAs, into the workplace for use and connectivity on the corporate network.
Instead of fighting employees who want to BYOD to work, many corporations allow employees to use their own mobile devices at work and implement a “BYOD policy” to help IT better manage these devices and ensure network security is not compromised.