IT consumerization is one of the biggest trends in recent years. Many users are now asking to have two or even three devices connected to the corporate network. Why? Flexibility, productivity, and because it's easier. With more users bringing in their own devices, administrators have scrambled to support them.
BYOD initiatives require solid planning, good policies, and educated users, but there's no need to overcomplicate an environment, especially when there are such powerful tools around to help.
IT consumerization has led to a change in focus at the datacenter level, too. Cloud computing, BYOD, and a growing "data-on-demand" paradigm have created a user-centric model. The idea isn't just to deliver an application or a desktop to users. Rather, it's to allow users to carry around their personalized settings regardless of the device or platform. This is where virtualization technologies can really make the process easier:
Application virtualization. App virtualization has really simplified the BYOD concept. Now, administrators can simply publish applications on a private cloud environment and let users connect via a secure HTTPS portal. Why is this great? The apps are always stored at the datacenter; the user only sees screen refreshes.
User virtualization. New technologies are allowing the user layer to be abstracted from the hardware platform. That means user settings (folder redirection, printer settings, profile settings, and more) can follow users smoothly regardless of their OS, device, or location. This simplifies user management and creates a powerful and productive experience.
[Read why virtual desktop infrastructure is becoming more attractive as BYOD becomes a way of life in "The Case For VDI In The BYOD Era."]
Storage virtualization. Storage is expensive, but with the latest controllers, IT managers can logically segment a single repository into multiple, isolated business units. Why is this important? BYOD applications, settings, and other functions can reside safely on a segmented storage network.
Network virtualization. The days of one-to-one network configurations are numbered. Administrators can now create hundreds of vNIC instances from a single hardware device. This is important because IT managers can segment their networks and create an underlying infrastructure for BYOD. Entire subsystems can be created for users who bring foreign devices into the network.
Security and encryption. For BYOD, this is huge. Aside from the ability to configure all traffic to work through HTTPS, security appliances now give security administrators a lot more flexibility around the type of devices they allow and how users access the environment. For example, an admin can set an endpoint scan and not allow any users who don't have the latest AV or patch running.
Recent security advances around mobile device management (MDM) can even check to see whether a device is rooted. Based on the endpoint, specific ACLs or policies, and even the location of the user, administrators can control what data is delivered. Depending on the circumstances, the user may see all of his or her apps, just a few, or none.
Remember to work with your end users and identify the types of devices you want to support. Never, ever make BYOD a free-for-all. There are numerous options for delivering data to the end user, and this is a prime opportunity to create a truly productive and happy workforce.