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Unified Communications Devices Open Up Security Problems

Enterprises aren't adequately supporting IT in addressing challenges with unified communications (UC) endpoint device management, which is leading to significant overspending and security issues.

That’s the conclusion of a survey from Unify Square and Osterman Research, which found that more than 77% of organizations do not employ any software or services to help automate the management and provisioning of UC-enabled devices. Instead, 42% of IT's total time spent on device management consists of manual troubleshooting, which in a 10,000-seat enterprise can add up to $100,000 of unnecessary spend.

Given the expected growth in overall UC system adoption, the lack of tools to support device management will become a costly problem and lead to serious security and compliance implications, the report concluded.

"The rate at which employees are hitting the pause button on their UC system adoption is accelerating. The relative simplicity of their smartphone devices versus UC complexity is a direct result of IT's struggle to effectively manage UC environments," said Scott Gode, chief product marketing officer at Unify Square. "Despite UC budget increases over the next three to five years, there's little wiggle room for mistakes and intense pressure to show ROI. As the overall usage of UC increases and the number and diversity of UC devices in the enterprise grows, device management will become a serious issue that can no longer be ignored. Both security and UC ROI is at stake."

In addition to financial repercussions of poor UC device management, end-user adoption and satisfaction also suffers when IT is bogged down by manual management. "Poor" end-user behavior becomes more common, the most serious behavior being abandoning the UC system altogether for personal smartphone device—22% of IT managers claim this is common in their UC environment. Because personal devices are not governed as carefully as company-supplied devices, corporate information stored on the device can expose the enterprise to significant security vulnerabilities as well as legal and compliance issues. Not to mention, employee productivity can also suffer without access to typical UC collaboration tools, all of which threatens ROI.  

"The significant proportion of spending on manual management activities points to a major opportunity to implement improved best practices and management tools to reduce UC device management expenditures," said Michael Osterman, founder and principal analyst at Osterman Research. "With cost and ROI being a huge consideration on the corporate agenda, making the investment to optimize UC device management becomes a no brainer. Doing nothing threatens to turn back the clock on the UC transformation, discouraging end users and diminishing productivity and ROI."

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