The trend towards BYOD (bring your own device) was the phrase on everyone’s lips in 2012. Driven by the huge uptake of mobile devices; both smartphones and tablets, ubiquitous wireless access to the Internet and the consumersation of technology, it seemed nothing could stop the BYOD juggernaut.
But CIOs have been considering carefully how to secure the true operational benefits of mobility. Three models have started to emerge.
First is the short-term fix. In this environment the IT department is responding to the huge uptake of mobile devices and are acknowledging that they need to include these devices in their IT framework. IT must be able to push policies, secure data, encryption and have remote wipe capabilities on the staff’s mobile devices. There are high expectations from all employees to be able to use their mobile devices to become more productive.
At the other end of the spectrum is the long-term solution where IT is providing a fully agile computing environment. In this scenario the organisation is able to accommodate different platforms, different operating systems and different applications as well as manage the safety of the corporation’s data.
This is a fully considered infrastructure approach; an issue of architecture. It is device agnostic and provides tremendous flexibility. It holds the promise of full access, anytime on any device. Logicalis’ virtual workspace is an example of this approach.
More recently, a middle ground is emerging which is an extension of the short term, basic approach. This approach delivers an enhanced mobile experience. It provides all the elements of the short-term solution and delivers the mobile experience to the user, such as simplified device registration, push policies, secure data and providing the sets of applications staff member’s need for their work. However, it also allows users to browse internal corporate networks easily and efficiently and access files seamlessly and remotely. This means mobile users don’t have to email themselves files or pull files from the network into a personal Dropbox folder or similar, to get access to the information they need while working on their mobile devices. The IT department can set more advanced protocols, for example sensitive emails with attachments can be viewed but not forwarded.
In this environment IT departments exert more control over the user’s experience while still enabling the productivity inherent in the use of mobile devices. By providing a more structured experience IT is able to unleash the potential of these mobile devices, many of which have more compute power than the typical thin client.
Increasingly, the CIO is looking at making tablets the standard computing device. However, for this to work the tablet must be converted into a pseudo desktop by docking with a good-sized monitor and keyboard (at a minimum); when the user is in traditional desktop work mode.
Some standardisation of mobile devices has to occur for this to work at a practical level. Without this, the myriad of required connectors and docking stations would be mind-boggling and a potential support nightmare. Equally, IT can play an important role in enhancing the users’ mobile experience by recommending a suite of applications, perhaps from an “Enterprise App Store” or similar.
By adopting an xYOD model; a hybrid approach; the CIO and the IT department are acting more as “mobile brokers” developing a strong mobile experience for users whilst exerting sufficient control over the computing environment to maximise the operational benefits to the organisation.
Find out more about Logicalis' approach and resources to implementing secure mobility or BYOD on our Logicalis Virtual Workspace page.
David Murray is a Solutions Architect based in Logicalis’ Brisbane office, and has expertise in security, routing & switching and wireless infrastructure. He’d love to talk to you over a coffee about the business benefits we can deliver through enabling secure mobility.