Looking backward, computing and connectivity have always moved along side by side. We have evolved from serial to Ethernet, thus gaining speed and flexibility, have introduced switching and have added different prefixes to Ethernet to gain even more speed. Then we have introduced wireless to attach some specific devices primarily for casual access. Now there is another shift; mobility changes everything and wireless is becoming the easiest and quickest way to connect devices to the network, while ensuring performance and security.
And why so? Simply because we are entering now into what we could name the “connected culture” – an era where the network becomes part of our daily lives – personal, business, government and society itself. We are also adopting new technologies at a more rapid rate. In the past few years, the market adoption and utility of mobile devices has expanded dramatically. Morgan Stanley predicts that the number of smart phones sales will exceed PC sales in 2012. Today, smart phones and other mobile devices are playing an increasingly central role in how people are entertained, communicate, network, work, bank and shop. From large enterprises and government agencies to small businesses and consumers, the use of these game changers to manage professional and personal interactions is now ubiquitous. Mobile devices have become the new personal computer, storing as much data as a PC, but providing greater flexibility and portability. Online banking, commerce and other business applications put daily business and financial transactions at the users’ fingertips. And, at every turn, users are implored to download productivity and entertainment applications to further increase the value of their mobile devices.
As a result, Enterprises are being flooded with employee requests to support new mobile devices, especially as more companies are adopting a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy in response to employee demand for anywhere anytime access to corporate networks from their personal devices. The formal approach where IT organisations would either issue phones or have a very strict policy with regards to what type of devices they would allow on the network is now outdated. We see these same organisations really taking a completely different path that is predicated around a much more open way in what platforms they will support. And do you know what? Enterprises actually have no other choice than to embrace these new technologies, otherwise they take the risk of losing productivity and competitiveness. What a challenge for today’s IT departments!
The fundamental question is how do you get these game changers on your network? Fortunately the answer is pretty straight forward:
The bottom line is the connectivity game is changing – the nature of LAN access will fundamentally change from wired to wireless Ethernet over the next couple of years, if not quicker. This will be driven in large part by the influx of these new and highly capable mobile devices which obviously do not have RJ-45 connections. This puts your network under increasing pressure, and there is an urgency to rethink the way you architect it. It is the time to recognise that mobility has changed everything!
So, how do you see your role moving forward? Should you be the network police or a productivity enabler? Do you think you can reconcile both together? I think you can actually run a dual approach; there are tools to support this. What do you think?
Finally, while smart phones and tablet devices now perform the same functions as a PC, one critical feature is missing though – security. Not surprisingly, today’s mobile devices – and the corporate assets they may connect to – are vulnerable, unless you adopt the right approach of course. But this is another story that I will cover in one of my next blogs