The days of the company-provided desktop, running company-provided software, accessing and storing information on the company internal network, are rapidly coming to a close. Bring your own device (BYOD) is the new model, with workers leveraging a variety of consumer services and living off their personal smartphones to get their jobs done.
This is a well-publicized challenge for corporate IT departments. They understand the allure of BYOD but must balance its convenience and ease of use with corporate network needs. These needs include:
- Managing stability and security risks
- Ensuring capacity and reliability
- Preventing unauthorized access
- Keep sensitive corporate data safe
Finding the right balance is difficult enough. In addition, enterprise IT teams, despite their skepticism, are being driven by management, that is increasingly reliant on personal devices, to embrace BYOD because of its demonstrated value in boosting both personal and enterprise-wide productivity. Where it really becomes a challenge as noted is that must do so without compromising network needs and enterprise policies and rules for access and security.
A recent white paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), Enterprise Communications 2.0, outlines the way forward. It highlights the way organizations should change the way they offer communications services. As the authors note, “It is no longer viable for these services to be tied to specific devices…They must become independent of all devices so that they no longer require a user to be confined in the way that they use them.”
The enterprise network must change
“The ideal network must be optimized to prioritize an employee’s enterprise business traffic over personal, non-critical traffic,” the paper noted. “This can only be achieved with an intelligent network that can monitor and recognize the nature of the traffic being generated by each user, prioritize critical enterprise traffic, and manage delivery of that traffic at the level of quality required to support enterprise communications processes.”
Alcatel-Lucent outlines three essential criteria for networks that take advantage of bring your own device trends. The network must:
Accommodate the continuously increasing demand for ubiquitous mobility. It must be configured to maintain conversations by supporting continuous connections and seamless transitions as employees move across the enterprise boundary and shift between different access technologies such as wired, Wi-Fi, 3G, Femtocell (News - Alert) and others, according to the paper. It also must allow for cloud computing and user-defined mashups between consumer and enterprise services.
Be scalable and elastic. This means supporting communications through centralization and virtualization in a network enterprise cloud.
Have the ability to differentiate between personal and enterprise network traffic. It needs to ensure the security of both and prioritize critical enterprise traffic.
Two ways to help achieve this, according to the paper, are “appification” and a strong network access control (NAC).
Appification is all about enabling the network to be application fluent. “Enterprise application provisioning must adopt the convenience, user experience, and deployment model offered by consumer app stores,” Alcatel-Lucent says. The authors add that, “Therefore, IT teams must either post applications on public app stores or build their own enterprise app store from which employees can download the applications they want. Some call this process appification.” This frees corporate IT from any particular device and encourages users to jump ship to consumer products less frequently.
Because the ultimate objective is to make sure that employee productivity is improved, a good NAC also should be employed so apps can only be used to the right people and traffic can be prioritized according to enterprise needs. This also is a key ingredient to bring your own device security.
“By building a new network strategy based on these criteria, enterprises can truly leverage the BYOD trend to build an enterprise 2.0 environment for their employees while ensuring enterprise communications and information are secure at all times,” Alcatel-Lucent concluded.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein