With more than 1.1 billion mobile appliances in use worldwide, organizations of all sizes are challenged by the need to access, manage and secure mobile devices and the data generated by them. Hewlett-Packard today announced a suite of services aimed at helping small- and midsize enterprises (SMEs) prepare their technology infrastructures for a growing mobile workforce.
The new offerings fall under the umbrella of HP Converged Infrastructure to provide a platform for secure continuous access to data and applications combined with partner solutions from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, explains Lisa Wolfe, worldwide small and midsize business leader, enterprise Business at HP.
The need to access mobile data isn't "going away anytime soon," Wolfe adds. "And SMEs are dealing with these challenges in an ad hoc sort of way."
More mobile devices in use means more unstructured data, Wolfe says. That data is generally handled by IT staff members who spend most of their time handling end user issues and tend to be generalists.
Included in the offerings are new networking products based on HP FlexNetwork architecture:
- The HP 1910 8G Switch Series, an energy-saving product that delivers network access for rich-media applications such as voice and video; and
- The expanded HP Multi-Service Router series, which reduces network complexity and total cost of ownership by integrating several mission-critical network services, such as security and wired and wireless networking features, into one device.
Meanwhile, HP is improving security with HP Client Virtualization, a virtual desktop product that stores user profiles and data on a centralized server. It then enables small and midsize businesses to provide secure access to applications from thin clients, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Information remains protected on the server even if a device is lost.
Wolfe said HP's goal is to provide an end-to-end roadmap to address challenges posed by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, so the company is also offering HP Client Virtualization Analysis and Modeling, a prepackaged service that analyzes existing IT environments to simplify and speed deployment of virtualization, and the HP Transformation Experience Workshop for Mobility, a service that aligns business and IT stakeholders to ensure employees have access to data while upholding security requirements.
"A lot of businesses don't know their data is sitting on personal devices," Wolfe says. "These devices are easily lost or stolen."
Ideally, she adds, users should be able to access corporate data via smartphones and tablets, but the data should never remain on the device. Once the session is done, the data is gone.
Deepinder Sahni, VP of New York-based AMI Partners, said small and midsize businesses are grappling with the BYOD challenge. Some companies are establishing guidelines with a list of preferred devices, while others are letting employees decide. "As more applications are used on mobile devices, we expect more control to be exerted among SMEs over time," he says, "so having some form of policy and control framework, however rudimentary or sophisticated depending on the type of SME, will become essential."
Sahni says mobile devices are critical to small and midsize businesses, if only because of calendaring and email, but these organizations are adding other business applications that are being executed on mobile devices. "Addressing BOYD requires robust networking and security within the internal IT infrastructure, as well as offering desktop virtualization as a means to address BYOD," he says.
According to Gartner research, by 2016, at least 50% of business email users will rely primarily on a tablet or mobile client instead of a traditional desktop. The trend to use devices to access email and other business data requires SMEs to prepare their infrastructures to support increased mobility.