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BLOG: Three tiers for BYOD – what you get for what you pay

Ennio Carboni | April 12, 2013
When considering BYOD, organisations need to tackle three issues: security, impact on the network, and budget.

Singapore's high smartphone penetration rate means that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon has really taken off in the country, prompting nearly 34 percent of corporate businesses to have a BYOD policy in place, as estimated by Frost and Sullivan.

Proponents suggest that BYOD will make more room in the budget, and on the surface it seems like a cost-cutter. But this is not true. A typical BYOD model costs 33 percent more than the traditional corporate-wireless model, according to Aberdeen.

When considering BYOD, organisations need to tackle three issues: security, impact on the network, and budget.  Here are three approaches that address these challenges.

The Frugal Approach

Some IT departments are 'securing' their network by isolating all tablets and smartphone devices to a separate VLAN outside the corporate network, where the only way to access internal resources is via VPN. There are no specific mobile management capabilities, so IT utilise their existing network management solutions to monitor network traffic inside and outside the VLAN to detect suspicious activity and ensure that new demands on network bandwidth are being met. Does this work? Yes, for some organisations.

Is it optimal?  No - the IT team still lacks visibility to discover who are the top bandwidth consumers and track these trends in the long term. Will it fit an existing IT budget? Yes, since the organisation is probably repurposing the tools it already has in place.

The Big Brother Approach

Other IT departments are willing to spend on dedicated mobile management capabilities. Costs add up quickly as more devices are introduced to the network. There are several approaches here as well - at various costs - but this approach is best for larger organisations or public companies that must meet compliance regulations. For example, an organisation can focus on the mobile endpoints and enforce end-users for a password. Another area to explore is encryption of any sensitive data, such as corporate email. Consider selecting a SaaS solution that creates a so-called 'dual-persona' environment where some apps and data are cordoned off for enterprise use, and others for personal use.

Some will choose to spend more and purchase highly advanced functionality. For example, they can register and remotely manage all corporate mobile devices deployed on a network, from initial configuration and setup to automatically applying and tracking corporate policies. With some of these solutions, it is possible to do very cool things such as enforce pass-code locking, or even wipe out all enterprise content when a device is lost or stolen, while maintaining personal files such as music, pictures or videos.  Of course, this advanced functionality comes at a high cost.

The Wireless Pane of Glass Approach


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