Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the topics that was addressed at the day two keynote of MMS 2012. It’s a trend in companies worldwide that has been increasing in practice with the success and popularity of the iphone, the ipad and Android based devices. With their adoption this has led many employees to use those devices to be more productive and, as a result, use those devices to access company data such as e-mail, applications, files and systems. This in turn has led to concerns over security, privacy, performance and scalability.
A couple of years back when the first ipad was introduced a number of executives at the company I was working with at the time brought in ipads and asked that we configure them for internal use. This meant that they needed to access company infrastructure including Wi-Fi networks, SharePoint and Exchange. At the time we obviously had some concerns from a security and a bandwidth perspective but what is becoming increasingly apparent is that if this is to be a viable business option administrator’s need the ability to monitor growth for capacity planning and user experience for delivery.
I’ve seen quite a few articles lately that identify some of the obvious security concerns inherent with BYOD but I think they fail to mention what companies need to look at once they’ve elected BYOD as policy, particularly monitoring and operations.
From a security perspective there is a great deal to be considered when taking the step toward BYOD see below for some of the top concerns.
- What is the security policy regarding company data on employee devices?
- How can we secure data on an employee device?
- What if the employee leaves?
- Who will have access?
- What services will be available?
As an IT group looks towards deployment the following need to be considered in order to best prepare for successful operations.
- How many devices are going to be connecting to our internal resources?
- What services will they use?
- Is our infrastructure optimized for mobile access?
- How do we support an employee owned device?
Once deployed, continuing operations, capacity planning and monitoring take center stage.
- What is the user experience?
- How can we ensure that service is delivered as expected?
- How can we determine performance is an internal or external issue?
The growth of BYOD trends in enterprise environments is providing some interesting challenges for IT administrators and IT groups in general. The key to being successful in continued IT service delivery is to be able to provide a secure yet reliable experience. Some of these concerns, such as security and capacity, need to be addressed prior to service deployment, however, once deployed, these services need to be monitored and analyzed in normal operations to ensure that the service is available and performing as expected. Below I highlight two areas that, if monitored consistently, can help in this area.
- Service Availability-Is the service available at the application level?
- Service Performance-From a service standpoint, how does the service perform?
- Service Reliability-Is availability and performance consistent?
- Service Continuity-Is the service highly available?
- User Population-How does BYOD impact usage
- Network Traffic-Internal and External for each service
- Storage-For services such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, how does BYOD impact growth
- Server Performance-More places to access data, busier servers
Collecting this information, being alerted to potential service impacts and then trending and forecasting for future growth can help ensure that adopting a BYOD policy will have minimal impact to the services you provide. After all is said and done the most important this to any organization is the productivity and success of its resources. Once initial security and capacity concerns are mitigated, the IT group only needs to deliver the service reliably and be able to plan for capacity and growth. Depending on the technology there are different ways to acquire the information needed to ensure this. Many applications can be monitored and statistics collected, at GSX we specialize in this for Messaging and Collaboration environments. Another item that may be of interest is an earlier article I wrote on options for Monitoring and Analytics from manual to automated. And, of course if you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further feel free to comment below.
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