BYOD and the Changing Network Landscape

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It seems like only yesterday that the world of IT was a hardwired place and life was simple.  You had servers in the datacenter. You networked the servers together with cables. And then you ran more cable to connect employee’s PC desktops to the servers.  But that world is rapidly changing.  Employees are giving up their PCs and bringing their own devices like iPads into the office, and expect to these devices to connect to the network and perform perfectly.   And they want to work from anywhere – from home, from a hotel lobby, or from the staff lounge area – again with seamless connectivity.

All of these changes make for happy, productive employees.  But they are also driving IT organizations to seriously rethink their network strategy.  

BYOD, which stands for “Bring Your Own Device” is probably one of the most significant trends impacting networking within the enterprise today.  In the past, employees weren’t given a choice. When hired, they were handed a standard issue PC desktop, and maybe a Blackberry. These devices were purchased, managed and secured by IT.  In the BYOD world, it’s more of a free for all strategy.  Employees want to use any device they choose within the workplace.  

To allow the business to realize a BYOD policy, IT organizations need to have a networking strategy in place that manages both the expectations of the users with respect to ubiquitous access and performance, and also the expectations and requirements of the business, with respect to security and manageability. 

The ultimate goal in a BYOD world is to allow any user to use any device, and have that device easily connect to the network. Once connected, that user should be able to access all forms of digital content (not just documents and spreadsheets, but rich content as well).  It is also important to have the device and the network perform reliably and respond quickly.   

So in its networking strategy, IT has to consider increasing its network bandwidth (with today’s swelling volumes of digital content today’s 10 Gigabit Ethernet  connection may grow to be 40 or 100 Gigabit in the future) and restructure its wireless infrastructure to give employees “anywhere, anytime” access at speeds approaching that of wired networks. 

BYOD can save costs and make employees happy, but it can also give CIOs security heartburn.  If the business is going to allow employees to connect to applications and to sensitive information with their own devices, it also needs to eliminate the possibility of having that employee download sensitive/critical business information to that device.  To solve this security problem, IT should consider adopting a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI strategy).  VDI can present applications and information to an employee’s device, but maintain control over that application and/or content within the datacenter.  An employee can interact with an application, content or data, but when he/she logs off, no information is left behind.   

FoxNet, along with its partners has been providing networking and datacenter solutions to IT organizations for more than 10 years.  In today’s fast-moving, fast changing technology environment, there’s not always a clear path with respect to software, hardware, and networking. FoxNet can assist you in defining and prioritizing your strategy based on current and future business needs.  We can guide you through a needs assessment, perform cost analysis and capacity assessments, help with technology and vendor selection and take your chosen solution through to final implementation.  If you are seeking to adapt your networking strategy to support BYOD, or if you are looking at implementing VDI, give us a call.

FoxNet Networking and VDI Partners