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Toby Makepeace

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – The Big Questions Answered

by Toby Makepeace (Toby Makepeace) on ‎10-16-2012 10:52 AM

This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Toby Makepeace, Technical Director at Network Utilities. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.

 

Like us you’ve probably been asking questions and more questions about BYOD. To quote Stephen Fry ‘No sin in that. We grow wise by asking questions. The right questions.’ So, here our Technical Director, Toby Makepeace grapples with BYOD and answers some of the biggies.

 

BYOD – a threat or an opportunity?

 

We are all well aware of today’s business challenges brought by the proliferation of mobile devices, new styles of remote working and the associated challenges faced by IT managers in meeting the increased demands for network access from both staff and guests. Those challenges aside, this question is easy for me to answer - opportunity! In my view BYOD brings a massive opportunity to your business. Quite simply the possibility of the increase in productive man hours can only be viewed as a benefit to the business. So, next questions please!

 

Are businesses prepared? What’s the risk to the business? Are there cost savings to be made? What is the impact on the IT department?

 

To answer these let’s first cast our minds back to when BlackBerry’s were first being deployed. At the time many felt they were an unnecessary cost and a risk to the business, and would not increase productivity, yet nowadays you’d be hard pushed to find a member of staff who doesn’t feel their BlackBerry or mobile device is a critical part of their everyday business toolkit.

 

However, I also believe the risk factor still exists and in some cases has not been addressed for these corporate devices. As people move away from BlackBerry to other mobile email systems, a BYOD strategy might help tackle these risk factors by reviewing the corporate policy on mobile devices and re-addressing some of the failings around theft or lost devices and help you move towards a solid Mobile Device Management policy.

 

With mobile email being the killer application upon which we all rely, let’s take a look at each of these questions in a little more detail:

 

Are businesses prepared?

 

Unfortunately the answer here is generally no, but we were not prepared for mobile email either. At that time we needed to invest in the solution that worked for our businesses, so now we need to invest in a BYOD solution that works for our businesses too. It might be just one product that we need, but more likely a suite of products to build a robust BYOD solution.

 

What’s the risk to the business?

 

The answer here really comes down to how far you want to take BYOD, and the level of investment required to protect your business.  The solution that you take on board should not be any different to a solution you should look to deploy to secure a corporately owned asset like a laptop. Consider if you can increase the level of protection you offer your business by using BYOD as a strategy to implement a solution to secure both BYOD and your corporate assets.

 

A full Network-Access-Control solution like “Juniper Networks UAC solution” can offer benefits to your business by minimising the risks from both BYOD and corporate devices. This solution can manage devices that are allowed to join the network and control the level of access that they gain based on the identity of the user and the state/health of the device the users are trying to connect with. This way you are able to increase your network security. Now you just need to develop a robust policy around which applications and systems on the network any personally owned devices are able to access.

 

Are there cost savings to be made?

 

You are going to need to, and you’d be wise to, invest in a solution to manage and protect your network. However, that aside protecting your network is essential regardless of BYOD. Your organisation could save money on the number of corporate assets like mobile phones and laptops you need to manage and deploy if you fully embrace BYOD.  But to my mind the question is not so much about cost savings, but increased productivity.

 

So, back to our BlackBerry example, I imagine a high percentage of your staff read an email at lunchtime or on their journey home and in most cases will respond and deal with it in their own time. If we removed our corporate mobile email solution and offered a BYOD email solution based on the Juniper Networks’ PULSE Mobile Security Suite and Juniper’s SSL VPN could we save money? I think the answer is yes, and consider this, you might also increase productivity even further as a number of staff will have two devices, one personnel and one business. Which one gets left at home at the weekend or in the evening? Unless you are as sad as me, it is not your business one!

 

 What is the impact on the IT department?

 

Without a shadow of doubt there will be an impact on the IT department as any solution needs to be deployed and managed. However, an effective integrated solution, based on Juniper’s products like the IC, SA and Junos Pulse make that experience a lot easier to manage. The threat to the network can be effectively managed by a strong policy dynamically enforced by the combination of these solutions, and where a greater level of threat prevention is required the Juniper SRX with IDP unit can be integrated with the whole solution, providing a granular policy control enforcer based on User ID and health of the asset accessing the network.

 

Conclusion

 

In my opinion the debate on BYOD should not be examined in isolation, but as an overall enhancement to your whole network security policy. Yes, there will be a cost for set up and deployment, however increased network protection, and minimising down time from virus and malware risks need to be taken into account irrelevant of BYOD. The increase in productivity in staff, will only really been seen over time, but like mobile email, BYOD may also prove to be a true and productive benefit to your business.

 

And finally … don’t be surprised if you go to your IT department and find a form of BYOD already in use, iPads, smart phones or tablets may already be connected to your network, which belong to your senior executives or the IT team themselves. So, why not ask the IT team if they feel the use of these devices has help them improve their productivity? I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the answer!

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  • Alan is the Head of EMEA Field Marketing at Juniper Networks with over 10 years of Information Technology marketing experience to his credit. Delivering excellence in marketing for international corporate business and in-country local business. Alan has a strong understanding and passion for ensuring that marketing can deliver growth and success to any size of organisation.
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  • I’ve been 29 years in the industry, first as a trainee IBM operator at Barclays Bank, later starting my own business which was ultimately acquired by French listed company EasyVista – [giving me great insight into working as part of an internationally focused company alongside organisations like Reuters, UBS Warburg, GlaxoSmithKline and London Electricity]. I am Sales & Marketing Director at Netutils – a specialist IT Networking and Security solutions provider. My passion continues to be making enterprise more efficient via the intelligent deployment of technology, with a view to delivering real value for my clients.
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  • I'm currently working on a number of Service Provider projects focusing on Identity Management. These range from Mobile Operator WiFi offload projects & 3G SCADA device management to broadband authentication encompassing quota and service management for P2P and video traffic control. I have over 15 years progressive experience designing complex RADIUS platforms to meet the demands of the most multifaceted businesses. One of the most successful projects focused on the consolidation of 22 separate RADIUS platforms spread over a large estate onto a single pair of RADIUS servers, offering the same functionality and business logic as the prior estate. In addition I have spent a number of years observing and implementing solutions for the enterprise space in the BYOD and NAC market. It's a keen area of interest for me as it combines the whole concept of identity management and business needs together. My largest project in this space was for a UK company with global offices providing a NAC solution for over 200 sites, with over 150,000 staff. Over the last 10 years Netutils have invested heavily in developing a technical team to support me and the business on these key areas. I strongly believe that a solution designed by Network Utilities should be the right solution technically and commercially for the customer, so my over-riding focus is on customer satisfaction. This follows on in the technical support service the Netutils team offer post implementation. Specialties Not making tea, NAC, RADIUS, Quota Management, Diameter, full life cycle of the subscriber management. Working with large organisations taking a concept through to delivery around identity management whether authentication or Quality of Service.
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