by Ram Appalaraju, VP of Marketing at Enterasys Networks
Implementing a successful BYOD environment is a top priority for organizations seeking to improve productivity and decrease costs. Channel partners have an opportunity to provide a variety of services that make managing mobile devices easier.
Studies have shown more than 40 percent of employees are utilizing their own devices at the workplace this year alone. Based on that, it is no wonder that a large issue has become how to deploy and manage the chaotic world of BYOD. A solution should deliver a comprehensive approach to the entire process of automating onboarding, profiling, securing, managing and troubleshooting.
There are five rules that organizations and channel partners should consider as they implement BYOD:
Integrated wired and wireless: a big part of creating the network fabric is inclusion of the wireless network. Creating a unified or common fabric that spans wired and wireless networks can guarantee any-to-any connectivity regardless of device or location, and ensure quality of experience into the cloud. It will also ensure common policy enforcement no matter where or how a user accesses the network.
Automated policy-based decision making: given the volume of mobile devices requesting network access, attempting any type of manual approval process is folly. Organizations need to apply automation and policy-based decision making in order to keep up with the influx of devices. Most importantly, these policies need to be context-based and automation should be focused on the registration process, determining the appropriate level of access and security-based on the role of the individual requesting access.
Open architectures: organizations have the flexibility to adopt multiple technologies to approach the BYOD problem. Management software should be flexible enough to integrate with those technologies. This could include APIs to connect to virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI),mobile device management (MDM), and the ability to integrate additional services like threat management, voice, video, location-aware services and application visibility.
Applications and services for mobile users: just providing a connection to the Internet may be fine for guests, but employees and partners may need access to a number of applications, so the end-to-end path needs to be considered. It will also be important to have the appropriate security measures in place (VLANs, ACLs, firewalls) so only approved users can access certain applications. Even then, usage should be closely monitored.
Ease of use: solutions that are easy to use and have simple interfaces will be necessary as IT budgets and headcounts will most likely not scale at the same pace. That means the same or fewer IT staff members will need to manage a rapidly-scaling BYOD environment.
While BYOD demands create pressure for IT, they also create ssignificant opportunity. However, one of the barriers to adoption is the lack of confidence that IT can eliminate the potential risks and management issues. By implementing these steps, channel partners can help provide a framework that allows both end users and IT professionals to reap the many benefits – increased mobility, higher job satisfaction, improvements in efficiency and productivity, and a reduction in end user device management, troubleshooting and support.