Roundtable: Rush to mobility

Roundtable: Rush to mobility

ARN and a group of industry experts look at the challenges and opportunities BYOD and the move of mobility into the enterprise represent

(L-R) Citrix's Stuart Driver, Channel Dynamics' Moheb Moses, Adobe's Michael Stoddart, Webqem's Larry Adler, Kaseya's Dermot McCann, Harbour IT's Scott Newell, Thomas Dureya's Rhys Evans, ARN's Rimin Dutt, Adobe's Steve Martin, ARN's Patrick Budmar and Citrix's Tony Edwards

(L-R) Citrix's Stuart Driver, Channel Dynamics' Moheb Moses, Adobe's Michael Stoddart, Webqem's Larry Adler, Kaseya's Dermot McCann, Harbour IT's Scott Newell, Thomas Dureya's Rhys Evans, ARN's Rimin Dutt, Adobe's Steve Martin, ARN's Patrick Budmar and Citrix's Tony Edwards

The mobile revolution is changing the face of both IT and life as we know. ARN sat down with a group of industry experts to look at the challenges and opportunities BYOD and the move of mobility into the enterprise represent.

Rimin Dutt (RD): How rapidly is bring your own device (BYOD) evolving and what do you expect in this space going forward?

Dermot McCann (DM): BYOD, or bring your own device, is not a new phenomenon. We did some research last year – everybody is using some form of mobility device in their enterprise, and from a security perspective, the challenge has been that these devices are designed around usability and application rather than security. It’s all about apps and what can you do with them; Security is almost an afterthought. The security threat, in itself, has grown about 155 per cent over the last 12 months purely from malware on these mobile devices whereas it hadn’t been previously a consideration.

Steve Martin (SM): The complexity comes from the fact that businesses no longer have control over their devices. Only a few years ago, you had PCs or laptops, you had a standard operating system, a standard operating environment. Whereas today you have many devices connecting to your network - whether it’s a mobile phone, a smartphone, tablet or any other type of device offered by any manufacturer or brand. So the challenge is providing a consistent set of standards across those mobile devices, or removing the standards all together and take a different approach to how those devices access content.

Stuart Driver (SD): I would argue that if you’re having some kind of management on that device, it’s not BYOD because BYOD, by definition, means it’s user-owned and not corporate-owned, and has no management tools upon it. An alternative view is potentially not to worry about the end device itself and give access and permissions to deliver content to that device and just assume nothing about it, what network it’s on and so on.

DM: Delivering corporate applications on those devices is almost too hard to deliver. You have to have some form of application or data delivery that sits outside regardless of what type of device it is. That obviously plays very well into what Citrix does in that space and is part of the challenge. The other part of the problem is that you have no control of when these devices get onto the network. You’ve got to actually manage the whole data loss prevention, so where is that data going? So that lends itself well to Cloud type solutions and it lends itself to more control.

Michael Stoddart (MS): What would be your advice to secure a Cloud type solution - restrict the access to it?

Scott Newell (SN): It seems to me that if you control the app, syou ecure the access... At the end of the day, it’s up to the business to actually propose policies in place. Every business owner is happy for people to bring their own device. Why? You’re going to get so much more productivity out of them and that’s the bottom line. So, from a Cloud perspective, ours is all about just securing that app.

SD: BYOD is trendy in terms of the press. There are a lot of organisations that probably haven’t accepted that it’s happening. What it will drive, though, is a change in IT organisations where the acceptance of consumer technology into the workplace will go from being cloak and dagger to almost mainstream through to being just fully accepted. Where the technology is being pushed will change over a period of time.

SM: The move to mobility or BYOD has become more prevalent in recent years, but the IT industry has been talking about BYOD for the last decade. I know a number of companies who had BYO PC models. What’s really happened with BYOD over the last two years is the managing director, the CEO and board members have walked in with their iPads and said, “Connect this bloody thing to the network”. It’s been user-driven, and it’s been user-driven from the management or the leadership level of businesses. And that has caused a fundamental change – IT has lost a bit of control in terms of those devices because all of a sudden the person paying the IT guy’s salary is insisting on getting this device connected to the network.

Tony Edwards (TE): So, in a way, our decision from a policy perspective is to say we don’t necessarily care about screen anymore. An interesting outcome of that is reduction in broken PCs when you give people the opportunity to own their own.

SD: Another by-product is security. We actually pay our employees to bring in whatever they want. In the last four years that we have done this, I do not know of a personally-owned device that has been left in a taxi, or on a conveyor belt, or whatever. So, as you’d expect, these devices are looked after better from an end-user perspective. We call it the “rental car syndrome”: You always drive your rental car just a little harder than you do your own, maybe. But the other side is security. So we do spot checks, which is all we can do because we don’t own any of this stuff.

DM: When these devices get introduced into your network, it’s typically a senior executive or a senior manager who might leave it in the back of a taxi. We delivered some stats last year: 200,000 mobile devices in Australia go missing every year. That’s a lot of potential corporate data that just walked out the door. So whilst you can deliver a lot of that content you have to be able to manage it and treat it like any other device. If you were losing 200,000 laptops every year you’d know about them and your CEO would know about it. So you’d have to be able to provide a holistic management platform on top of that as because your users are protecting their consumer product. But they’re not necessarily as diligent at protecting your corporate data.

MS: Sending an email to my mates to ask them what time they’re going to the pub tonight is not the same as our SAP or ELP or whatever it is. So we classify our data in different ways and then we deliver it in different ways as well. IT is lagging behind in general when looking at the marketplace. Trying to help organisations is probably the challenge because most organisations see it as an on-and-off thing. There is a tsunami of personal productivity devices, consumer devices, and their related benefits. So trying to figure out where you have middle ground, and pushing some of it out, but retaining some of it is probably the way forward.

SM: I think it will evolve to where Web developers will have more skills, more capability, more experience on delivering content to any device, to anybody and to what they seek. So it will be an interesting paradigm shift as IT and web development come together.

SD: Just one step further is standards-based - HTML 5, or whatever it may be. Delivering it to multiple teams, devices, locations, people, contractors, permanent employees, whatever it is, but really designing it once, delivering it multiple times but reusing that toolset.

MS: In terms of internal IT development, IT taking up or including Web development and bring your own device extends to bring your own software.

SD: I think people bring software anyway, so there is probably two answers to that. So there is one around the software that they use and then there is probably the software that they’re licensed for. Every single one of us around this table has a set of applications which we use to run our personal and our corporate lives and I think people bring that and they switch between them. How you control that from an IT perspective is interesting and how you license that, which is the second part is also interesting or how you deliver rather is really the same as licensing. If you have control of delivery you have control of licensing.

MS: Although, if you’re saying, “here is the budget, go and buy whatever device and software you want,” is that something that internal Web development and IT will encompass?

SD: For us it’s purely a hardware - including operating system - conversation around BYO. So we pay our people $US2100 converted to local currency, for them to bring their device, which has to be a Mac or a Windows, or Windows 7 these days on software that we then provide. All you need is antivirus, which we’re licensed to provide, and the Citrix Receiver. From that, we can deliver whatever they need - the Adobe platform or Microsoft. If they want further personal productivity tools, then they would need a license and that’s where the policy comes in. We’re very clear that we’re not accountable for its cost should the auditors from Adobe come in, and say that’s a personal device. That’s why we believe that having the clear line between personally-owned and corporate-owned needs to be defined.

DM: You’ll never get it. You can’t. This phenomenon has developed because consumers have dictated what you’re going to access. As to bring your own software, all the policies in the world are not going to change the fact that people are going to bring whatever device or whatever application they want and control it. And it is our responsibility to make sure that they can access it, deliver content as securely as possible, and put all the framework in. We use Gmail. Everything we have is in the Cloud. I use Dropbox because it’s efficient for me. Our corporate policy says that we automate all of the IT management internally. We have two IT guys, and I’ve arrived into work with my MacBook Air, my iPad and my iPhone and put my agent on it, and they went okay, then be productive -- and that’s the point.

Rhys Evans (RE): What I’m recommending to most of our businesses is applications and services that work on any device and give them more productivity. It could be a mobile CRM system that doesn’t allow them to download, but view data.So the next step is really going to be not about the device, but about those applications and services you offer to entice that user to move to that model, making those applications more secure.

RD: What are other key considerations when thinking about mobility and Cloud as it relates to mobile solutions?

SM: I think the Cloud presents many, many challenges and I’m sure one of the opportunities from a productivity perspective is that ability for people to work anywhere, anytime. But if you subscribe to a Cloud service as an individual that content stays with you as it’s individual access. With Cloud offerings, businesses should make sure they have a business offering of the Cloud so that even if the individual leaves, the content is still a business asset.

RE: With the mobile device these days, in 20 seconds you can buy an app and probably copy a database or something if you want to. It’s pretty easy. Or install Dropbox and get access to the Cloud. These services are becoming more prevalent and they’re very easy to access and that’s why users are using them. So there has been great things coming out moving towards this type of model where a lot of vendors are making skins on top of regular Windows applications that can work with HTML or Android and again that’s the way we’re moving. Cloud-based management is there, but Apple are notoriously hard to do anything with and it’s very hard for these mobile management vendors to really shine out at the base management platforms.

RD: Is the advice then around the management of these mobile devices as it relates to mobility or could it also include other types of services when thinking of mobile solutions?

Larry Adler (LA): Well in our case we find that a lot of people can’t keep up with technology challenges. They can’t understand how they’re managing their content. They’re not thinking through the security risks. They’re not thinking about the usability of the content. They’re not thinking about how to manage their content and a lot of them don’t truly understand the value of secure assets of their content either. So there is always an educational process that comes into that and consulting. But from a content publishing perspective, we can only use a device to access content whether it’s magazine content, informational, website or business. That is so much more complex because it could be business applications or a website to be delivered for a PC screen of certain dimensions.

MS: That’s a challenge, the idea that the market will pay for advice when with social media. I’ll take the word of someone I’ve never met who has had a post on Facebook versus the guy that has been doing this for 20 years. I’m referring to the Amazon example of going to a bricks and mortar store, scanning the prices and then Amazon will beat that online.

LA: And a lot of competitors are now saying, "Well we’ll charge you for boot fitting" and folks turn around and go somewhere else because the prices weren’t competitive. So there is a squeeze on that. You’ve got to add value, provide services around the outside to compensate.

Moheb Moses (MM): The fact that now, we’ve got these things, which are smaller, lighter and more nimble, are not the enemy. The iPad is not the the enemy. It’s not. End-user devices have always been around. It’s a playing field that we all need to get onboard with. It’s us as systems integrators, you guys as vendors, but the customer ultimately needs to have a want for it and clearly define what it is. We can present, present, present and really put our best foot forward, and these guys are going to want to have to at least nibble it, taste it, agree with it and actually see that it is critical to their business. I think there is a lot more to do.

TE: It’s becoming more the norm that any device on any network and all those types of buzzwords. If you’re still there as an IT organisation, as an integrator and as a vendor thinking that you can control that stuff in the way that we used to, you’re mistaken because you will probably going to lose track of where things are going.

MM: There needs to be control. There is control everywhere. There is control in our society. There is control is what we do day-to-day, so I think there will always be control. Now how far you want to take that control will be dependent and will be a business decision.

iPad ain't the enemy

The channel will find plenty of opportunities to make money as corporations integrate mobile computing and their BYOD policies mature, according to industry executives at the ARN roundtable on mobility.

The advent of the iPad and other tablets has meant a plethora of choices for end-users, and an overwhelming need for companies to oversee the secure use of those devices.

“It opens up a huge opportunity because now there are multiple devices accessing corporate data or multiple devices that need to be managed, multiple devices that need to be deployed. From a partner’s perspective, they now have another reason to talk to their customer,” Kaseya’s Dermot McCann said.

“They can make more revenue by expanding their wallet share and their value proposition to their customers by leveraging different applications, different services and different solutions that are going to ultimately give them a better return and a better relationship with their customer,” he added.

Services will form the biggest revenue driver for channel partners.

“It’s really services that will be coming on to enable those devices not the devices themselves because once you’ve set up a management policy and platform if it’s 10 devices or 10,000 devices, the licensing goes up, but the service component of the business doesn’t change at all” Adobe’s Michael Stoddart said.

“It’s helping them to enable those devices for the business that will get some more revenue and further into that customer.”

Licensing revenue and value-added servies and resulting fees would become key components, according to Webqem’s Larry Adler.

“You’ve got to add value all the way through. The superannuation industry is struggling about who runs better super - Do you pay for service or do you not pay for service and we’ve got the same thing here, “ Adler said.

“So a lot of people will go to the free product, but then they’ll need to know when they need to go to a more secure product and they need advice.”

To be sure, in the short-term, direct purchases of end-user devices, use of Cloud software applications, and certain vendors such as Apple pushing direct selling to the market will put pressure on partners’ margins. This compares to the historical practice of relying on buying software through system integrators.

“There has been a slight downturn, but it’s not significant from what I’ve seen,” said Scott Newell of Harbour IT “It’s certainly not substantial.”

With individual-focused Cloud services such as Gmail and Dropbox, gaining more traction among employees leading to corporate security concerns, IT departments and, largely, the channel will find other ways to monitor and enable their efficient use.

Citrix’s Stuart Driver believes the channel will ultimately catch up because the reason behind the popularity of Cloud services such as Dropbox is they “service a need.”

“They meet a need of a customer whether that customer’s personal or corporate,” he said.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments