In the past, it has been difficult to completely work outside the office. This was mostly due to the fact that allowing users to access company data and programs from an outside source such as a laptop, required careful integration into the corporate network.
In my experience as a network and IT manager, there were a lot of concerns that needed to be addressed and quite frankly, the applications that were needed from my end just weren’t there yet. Unfortunately, this set up the scenario where potentially you could work comfortably outside the office, but you could never work as effectively away from the office as you can at your desk.
For those of us who did need to be in constant contact with the office, we had company-issued devices. Back in my day it was laptops, which slowly evolved into both laptops and a smartphone; in the early days it was usually a BlackBerry (News - Alert) device. While this sort of alleviated one problem, that of access, it created another. You are now walking around with several devices, one to conduct your personal business on and one solely to be used for business purposes.
It actually still surprises me to this day to still see this. However, this is something that is quickly changing. Thanks to idea of bring your own device (BYOD) to use as a work tool you no longer need to visit a chiropractor on a regular basis.
I have often said that we live in a generation of “I need to be connected all the time” and “I need immediate access to all my data.” Thanks to smartphones and tablets having displays with remarkable resolution and the continuing deployment of 4G LTE (News - Alert) networks, it is not only possible to be connected with fast data speeds all the time, it is also easier to use BYOD and get a lot of work accomplished.
Being able to use one device instead of two or three, coupled with the fact that you are intimately familiar with how it works, makes it easy and efficient to carry out day-to-day work functions. Enterprises are now embracing BYOD because they see it as a benefit even though there are still several issues to work out.
According to an article in Channel Pro, BYOD has encouraged individuals to embark on new projects, under their own steam, yet with the support of the business. It has proved to be a catalyst for innovation, which the channel has been quick to take advantage of. BYOD, has, however, moved the enterprise into a period of transition.
This does make the IT department more responsible for being able to integrate various devices into a more complicated network of technologies designed to keep everything safe, secure yet accessible. Channel Pro feels that this will put IT service providers in a position of being in great demand. They will be asked to rationalize all the different application and device approaches, secure and manage them and even rectify problems if, and when, security is breached.
As technology progresses forward, we always see improvements in devices which, in turn, leads to more devices attached to a corporate network. All of this leads to one of the ultimate problems experienced in an IT department: the demand for security. Thanks to BYOD, this security is now a two-way street since both company and personal data need to be made secure.
All of this means that there will be an abundant demand for Mobile Device Management (MDM). The feeling is however, that regardless of who owns the device or data, what comes next is where the real opportunities lie for the channel. This is because from here the concern becomes all about the applications and content.
We are looking at a change in mobility strategy. When employees first began to use their own devices for both work and personal usage, you had companies that simply allowed it without question, and those that said “absolutely not.” Now that more companies are accepting BYOD and creating policies to manage its use, the mobile strategy needs to also be created from the ground up.
In trying to figure out the best methodology, resellers should begin by asking their customers the following three questions:
- What applications does your company need?
- Who is going to use what application?
- Why do they need access to certain applications?
I always like to look at things from various angles and I usually come up with two sides to everything. While security is of paramount importance, there are several legal aspects that also need to be considered by the HR department. You have company data is on a personal device; however, depending on how MDM is configured you also have the possibility of personal data, such as contacts and emails, viewable by the company. This is yet another consideration that needs to be addressed.
As you can see, we are in the early stages of what can be looked at as a learning experience. While some of this is ground that has been covered before, a lot of issues are new and haven’t any familiarity behind them. Organizations are learning through the experience of day-to-day use.
Channel Pro believes that the learning curve works for the following reasons:
- Overloading users with a myriad of application access mechanisms, app types and device choices is likely to bring with it significant support overhead to the customers’ IT department;
- Taking a more cautious approach will bring with it user engagement and embed the partner into the long-term plans the customer has for mobility. Managing this phased approach provides a strong consultative opportunity for resellers;
- In this scenario, a lot is put on the shoulders of resellers. They have to be able to provide their customers the ability to move into a more mobile world, which means that we are looking at access and security issues. They also have to be able to deliver full applications that are useful both in and out of the office. Believe me, this is not an easy task.
There is a huge amount of work for the channel to do. VARs, consultants and system integrators are the people that can help to accomplish this task. In addition, this group can also help businesses bring the best out of their smart devices and their employees.