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What the Apple-IBM Partnership Means for IT Professionals

What the Apple-IBM Partnership Means for IT Professionals

The IBM-Apple partnership could mean more business for IT professionals, but it also means more risk. Find out what you need to know to address your liabilities.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014/Categories: consultant-liability

ZDNet reports that IBM and Apple are partnering to develop mobile products for businesses, effectively combining Apple's iPad and iPhone infrastructure with IBM's device security and big data services.

Any time two industry giants get together, it's big news, but this partnership has far-reaching ramifications for IT consultants and contractors. For starters, here's what should jump out to you:

  1. Technology companies expect a huge growth in mobile IT solutions.
  2. Integrating IBM's data analytics with Apple's mobile devices will make big data accessible to all sorts of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Mobile + Big Data = Big Rewards for IT Consultants

Many business owners have yet to take the plunge on investing in mobile technology. For IT consultants, that means there's big potential for future growth in mobile development and consulting. (For more on this, see "28% of U.S. Companies Have No Mobile Strategy. Make Them Your Clients.")

Likewise, big data (aka business intelligence or BI) is expected to grow six times faster than the rest of the IT industry, according to Forbes magazine.

The Apple and IBM merger ­– officially called IBM MobileFirst for iOS – combines these two areas of IT, positioning two tech giants to increase their market share in two of the hottest tech fields.

What Tech Pros Can Learn from IBM and Apple's Partnership

The Apple / IBM partnership is a big bet that businesses are looking for better device security and industry-specific mobile software.

IBM MobileFirst for iOS is about more than just offering an enterprise platform – it's about creating software specifically designed for certain industries. IBM will make apps for over 100 different verticals (everything from healthcare to retail to finance).

Additionally, companies will get IBM's MaaS360, which secures and connects a business's mobile devices. MaaS360 can even secure employee-owned devices, effectively limiting BYOD risk.

BYOD has become the new workplace reality. Most security software hasn't caught up with this risk, which has left a number of big tech companies scrambling to offer a solution. For example, Google’s acquisition of Divide, a company specializing in device security, was a pointed response to this vulnerability. (See our full write up here: “What Google's Investment Means for the Future of BYOD.”) And Apple’s partnership with IBM is a big step toward meeting the demand for better BYOD management.

4 Ways the Apple-IBM Partnership Will Affect IT Professionals

Though this partnership is a boon for IT consultants, there are some obligations and exposures you may have to plan for. Here are a few ways it could impact your field:

  1. Better security management. The combination of IBM's device security management and Apple's secure iOS platform could mean more robust device protection for businesses, even those with BYOD liability.
  2. New markets. With IBM and Apple planning to develop apps for 100 industries, your clients may want to upgrade their IT infrastructure and invest more in mobile technology.
  3. New certification. With an increased demand for enterprise-enabled Apple devices, you might look to become a certified Apple consultant (see Apple's consultant certification program for more details). Clients will want work with IT consultants familiar with iOS and these new capabilities.
  4. More data risks and professional liabilities. New developments always come with their share of risk. As clients use more mobile IT, there’s an opportunity for data breaches, data loss, cloud outages, and other problems. Even with greater device security management, you still have some liabilities. For example, your client may experience a data breach if they use shadow IT workarounds to access and transmit data – and they may claim you’re responsible for the damage.

Luckily, carrying Errors and Omissions Insurance can address your risk of IT lawsuits. Whether you're sued over data breaches, code you've written, or third-party mobile software you install for clients, your coverage can spare you the heavy financial hit.

To learn more about the cost of technology Errors and Omissions coverage, check out these sample tech insurance quotes


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