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Posts Tagged ‘BYOD’

There’s rarely a company I talk to nowadays that doesn’t have some kind of bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, program underway. The most recent survey data from ZK Research shows that 82% of organizations now support BYOD in some form. Also, the majority of IT leaders I’ve talked to say that the pressure to implement BYOD is coming from multiple angles – C-level executives, line-of-business managers, and younger workers are among the most common.

BYOD can mean different things to different buyers and the challenges range from on-boarding concerns, network readiness, security policies and other factors. The top challenge, though? That’s creating a consistent user experience across the myriad of devices out there.

To learn more about this topic, please join me on June 13th at 11am at an event in Marlborough, MA. Here is the registration link: www.versacomm.com/shoreteldock

The vision of being able to deliver any content or application to any device no matter where a worker is located has eluded IT for over a decade now. The desire to get there is great as it promises to change the way people work and raise the productivity level of employees no matter where they may be. Any inability to fulfill this “any” vision certainly shouldn’t be looked at as reflection of IT. It’s more that the technology didn’t really exist to enable a truly fluid, mobile work environment.

Most companies had to be content with having limited portability versus true mobility. What’s the difference? Let me explain. The legacy “mobile toolkit” consisted of a worker having a corporate-issued laptop with preinstalled company-issued applications. All of a worker’s files and content are also loaded onto the laptop. The worker then carries the laptop around, attaches to a hotspot or other network when not in the office, and connects over a VPN client. Is this really a mobile office? I say it’s not – it’s portable.

Talk to anyone in IT today about anything and it’s hard not to transition to a discussion on BYOD. Almost every IT leader I speak to is struggling with the pressure of having to allow workers to use personal devices in the workplace while still maintaining security. This is one of the reasons the mobile device management (MDM) market has been growing.

However, it’s been my belief that MDM alone isn’t enough to establish a BYOD strategy. Most MDM solutions are based on client software being deployed and maintained on the device. But devices change so frequently in the workplace that trying to manage security by managing the device does not scale. What’s needed is a solution that’s delivered from the network so devices can be brought onto the corporate network and then used to access information without putting the organization at risk.

Earlier this week, the market leader in application delivery controllers (ADCs), F5 Networks, added to its security portfolio by announcing its own BYOD solution, known as Mobile Application Manager. Mobile App Manager is designed to remove many of the challenges associated with BYOD by taking the burden off the device and pushing the functions into the network.

The industry is still in the early days of BYOD and many companies have looked to mobile device management (MDM) solutions to help enterprises handle the influx of consumer devices. In my opinion, and I’ve said this for a while, traditional MDM solutions are a great stop gap technology to help deliver BYOD quickly, but these solutions are device-centric and that limits their scalability.

There’s no hotter IT initiative today than “bring your own device.” A recent survey ZK Research conducted shows that 82% of organizations now  in some way support the use of consumer devices in the workplace. This is a marked difference from just a couple of years ago, when very few organizations supported it. For those companies that do not support it yet, get ready because the heat’s going to come from above your pay grade and it will be your CEO who says “I don’t care what our corporate policy is, make this iPad work.”

This is one of the reasons mobile device management (MDM) has been such a hot market over the past few years. MDM enables the safe on-boarding of devices into the corporate workplace. It ensures that the device adheres to corporate security policies, drops certificates onto the device and configures the device automatically. Generally, a good MDM solution can reduce provisioning time from hours to mere minutes.

Citrix held its annual industry analyst event last week in Santa Clara and I left with a favorable view of the company’s short- and long-term prospects based on current IT trends. The company has always had a niche position in the IT space dating way back to the WinFrame and MetaFrame days. Prior to being an analyst, I actually worked for a Citrix reseller and was fully certified as a Citrix engineer. I chose to go down this technical path because I had a belief that the standardization, security and management capabilities that thin-client computing brought was the way the industry would go. With centralized management, the highest level of security, and no local PC problems, what could be better?

However, the market didn’t really play out that way. Sure, almost every large enterprise I worked with used Citrix in some capacity. Typically, its primary function was to deliver a subset of applications to people like consultants, call center agents or other task-based workers based on the fact that it was easier to manage and easier to secure. Despite the strong value proposition, the penetration rate of Citrix never reached much more than 10% in most companies and there were several reasons for this.

I’m not sure what happened to the IT mindset this year but it seems BYOD has gone from something that most IT departments are trying to avoid to something that tops most IT priority list. Perhaps it’s the result of better MDM tools, pressure from the business leaders, or maybe just a willingness to admit that it’s the way things are now.

Whatever the case, a switch flipped, and ZK Research shows that fewer than 20% of companies actually oppose BYOD. That means for every five companies out there, four are embracing it.

So what happens after BYOD is put in place? Now companies have, what, 3, 4 or 5 times as many devices to manage? That means with an employee growth number of zero, IT departments have to manage up to 500% more devices. Now, think of the impact that has on the network. DHCP servers get slammed, DNS requests go through the room, the number of IP addresses jumps an order of magnitude, devices have to be assigned to VLANs and then reassigned as that worker moves through the company. Then all of that information needs to be updated and kept in sync.



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