A shift is happening in managed enterprise services that puts the new centre of gravity firmly within the grasp for the communication service provider. And it’s driven by three macro trends...
Today’s tech savvy corporate employees have little or no respect for the traditional boundaries that previously governed the provision of IT services. Even those of us from older generations are won over by consumer applications that we then bring into the workplace such as dropbox, skype and icloud.
In a report by Forrester Research1 based on a survey of 10,000 information workers, they found that 43% of information workers in have used their own personal computer or smartphone for work, 16% have installed unsupported software and 19% have used Internet-based services that are not supported by their company’s IT department.
The term the industry has adopted to help us understand and discuss this phenomenum is the Consumerization of IT (CoIT)2. A fairly fancy term that essentially means bringing the applications and devices that we find in our lives as consumers, into the workplace.
CIOs are recognising this trend and looking for ways that allow it to coexist within a corporate framework. For example, enabling internal departments to select from a menu spanning both internal and external applications. In effect, transforming the IT department into a service brokerage. Of course, we have a term to discribe this as well; the Democratisation of IT3.
The final macro trend relevant here is mobility. An ever increasing number of employees accessing corporate applications from mobile smart device with some reports estimating as much as a 1/3 of the world’s population will be mobile workers in 20154.
Shifting the Managed Service Center of Gravity
These trends will result in the decline of the traditional IT services model where the majority of applications reside on the customer premise and the rise of one where an increasing number of applications reside outside. In fact, over time I would expect all but the most sensitive or critical applications to reside outside of the enterprise. These applications will be provided by a mix of over the top (OTT) providers and the CSP themselves in the form of hosted services.
In this new model, it makes little sense to route traffic, increasingly from mobile devices, into the enterprise to be authenticated and terminated in a virtual private network (VPN), only to route most of that traffic back out of the enterprise to an off-site application. It impacts the access link bandwidth costs and the user experience. A more logical solution is to provide a point of service access within the cloud, from which the user can connect directly and securely to any application; whether cloud or enterprise-based.
A key to delivering such a service model is security; authentication of users, privacy of data flows and screening of traffic for potential threats. By providing secure access as a service, linked to the enterprises’ existing authentication services and security policies, service providers are in a poistion to deliver this capability today. Juniper’s Junos Pulse product suite offers such a capability as well as securing the smart device itself. Standards such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) extend single sign on across multiple internal an external services.
By acting as the point of service entry, the service provider can deliver a secure and efficient application access framework to the enterprise customer. As part of a cloud brokering model they are able to provide a better user experience, consistent security and audit reporting across a range of on-premise and off-premise applications; supporting the enterprise IT department as they migrate from ‘keeping the lights on’ to a service broker.
Head of Cloud and Managed Services Solutions Marketing, EMEA