Over the past couple of years, IT consumerization has really taken off. Many users are now asking to have two or even three devices connected to the corporate network. Why? From a user’s perspective, it’s simple: Flexibility, productivity and because it’s easier. With more users bringing in their own devices, administrators have scrambled to find ways to effectively support these types of demands. With any BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative, there has to be a solid plan, good policies and an educated user in place. Furthermore, there’s really no need to over-complicate an environment especially when there are such powerful tools around to help.
The focus at the data center level has shifted. Cloud computing, diversification in device availability, and a growing “data-on-demand” society has created a greater focus on the user. The idea isn’t just to deliver an application or a desktop to the user – rather – it’s to allow the user to carry around their personalized settings regardless of the device or platform. This is where current technologies can really make the process easier.
- Application virtualization. App virtualization has really simplified the BYOD concept. Now, administrators can simply publish applications on a private cloud environment, provide a secure HTTPS portal the end-user and allow them to connect to their applications. Why is this great? The apps are always stored at the data center. The user will only see screen refreshes.
- User virtualization. New technologies are allowing the user layer to be completely abstracted from the hardware platform. That means user settings (folder redirection, printer settings, profile settings, and more) can smoothly follow the user regardless of their OS, hardware device or location. This simplifies user management and creates a powerful end-user experience.
- Storage virtualization. Storage is expensive. So, with the latest controllers IT managers can logically segment a single controller into multiple, secured, business units. Why is this important? BYOD applications, settings and other functionality can safely reside on a segmented storage network.
- Network virtualization (SDN). The days of one-to-one network configurations are numbered. Now, administrators can create hundreds of vNIC instances from a single hardware device. Why is this important? IT managers can now segment entire networks and create an underlying infrastructure for BYOD. Entire subsystems can be created for users who bring in foreign devices into the network. Furthermore, software-defined networks act as powerful tools to logically connect networks which can span the nation – or globe.
- Security and encryption. For BYOD, this is huge. Aside from the fact that you can easily configure all traffic to work through HTTPS, security appliances have now entered the “next generation.” This means that security administrators have a lot more flexibility into the type of devices they allow and how users access the environment. For example, an admin can set an end-point scan and not allow any users who don’t have the latest antivirus or patch running. Recent security advances around mobile technology (MDM) can even check to see if a device is rooted. Based on the end-point, specific ACLs or policies, and even the location of the user – the administrator is able to granularly control what data is delivered. Depending on the circumstance, only a few applications may appear, none at all – or all of them.
- MDM/MAM/Mobility – We mentioned MDM earlier, but recent technologies are taking the conversation even further. With direct integration into existing infrastructure components, the latest in mobility management takes security, application, and data control to the next level. Data and application containerization allow the administrator to completely restrict where files and information is available. Plus, they are able to dictate how and where files are open. Remember, we’re not just talking about controlling devices. Rather, we need to focus on the data and applications that are being delivered to the end-points. The idea isn’t to restrict the end-user. Rather, with easier application and data access, organizations deploying mobility solutions are trying to empower their workforce. One of the biggest trends within today’s organizations is the challenge around create a mobility policy. Why? Because we now have a mobile workforce that requires an equally mobility-ready business.
When working with a BYOD initiative, remember to work with the end-user and identify the types of devices you want to support. Never, ever, make BYOD a free-for-all. There has to be management in place which will help control the data and where it is being delivered to. There are numerous options in how an organization can deliver their data to the end-user. With IT consumerization and BYOD, organizations can create a truly productive and happy workforce.
Remember, these trends aren’t going away. Tablets and mobile devices are continuing to grow where more users are doing their work from a mobile platform. As the Cisco image below demonstrates, mobile data is creating exabytes of new data traffic.
According to Cisco, overall mobile data traffic is expected to grow to 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017, a 13-fold increase over 2012. The time to create and control your mobility strategy is now. There will not be a decrease in the number of devices accessing your infrastructure and there will be an increase in the amount of data being presented to mobile devices. Allowing the end-user to use a personal (or even corporate) device that they’re used to – while still delivering a powerful experience – can have many positive results for any organization.