While BYOD is gaining traction within all market segments, onboarding and managing a slew of personal devices onto a network still represents a formidable challenge for organizations. Here are a few tips for solution providers when getting BYOD under control.
Good news: Bring Your Own Device trends have become less strange and more accepted as organizations continue to aggressively onboard mobile infrastructure.
Bad news: BYOD is just as complex and confusing as ever, complicated by more devices and various levels of security, user policies and types of workers.
While gaining traction in just about every market segment, BYOD continues to complicate not only security, but how organizations manage bandwidth consumption and fix and address performance issues.
However, that sustained complication will no doubt open up ongoing channel service opportunities around security, management, compliance and optimization for the long-term. That said, solution providers can always use a bit of a boost. With that in mind, a recent report issued by WAN optimization firm Exinda illustrated some of the ways solutions providers can control the impact of BYOD on their customers’ networks.
- The first step is segmenting users and monitoring access devices. These days, it’s not uncommon for users to juggle multiple devices – smartphone, tablets, laptops, eReaders -- that are all consuming corporate network resources. And when combined, they all result in an unknown, but likely burdensome, impact on the network. Solution providers should then refocus tracking of user activity and leverage online tools integrated with the corporate directory to open up network visibility based on each user. It's a move that, in turn, will streamline channel BYOD management efforts by automatically incorporating every device leveraged by individual users.
- Meanwhile, solution providers need to be building out a BYOA policy that aligns specifically to BYOD needs. While many organizations have some kind of device policy in place, few have implemented well-constructed application policies that determine user productivity and social applications that can be safely used on the network. Or be supported by IT for that matter. The service opportunity for solution providers them becomes the ability to assess and determine which personal applications should be supported, which should be controlled, and which should be prohibited altogether.
- If you can’t see it, you can’t manage it. Part of getting a handle on BYOD is getting a handle on BYOD expenses. And to that end, solution providers should typically publish a detailed BYOD expense policy. It’s a step – and likely the only step -- that will enable organizations to build an effective cost model that transcends device support costs to include necessary elements such as application, management and usage costs.
- While many BYOD policies look good on paper, users won’t truly know their effectiveness, and ultimately value, until that policy is put to the test. As such, the most strategic BYOD plan could feasibly be rendered moot if glaring errors cause mobile infrastructure to slow resources, tap bandwidth or lack integration with the rest of the corporate network. As such, solution providers will need to regularly perform BYOD network readiness assessments to identify and address weaknesses and areas of improvement. Regular testing will not only determine where the vulnerabilities are located, but what areas of expertise the channel will be required to fulfill for their customers.
- Finally, solution providers will be required to remodel the application SLAs for BYOD. Above all else, the network’s ability to deliver a reliable and predictable user experience for all critical applications and devices will be predicated on the strength of the network application SLA. That will require intensive scrutiny on the part of the channel to ensure that the service levels meets the customers’ requirements. While entailing a little more work up front, the benefits will pay off for the solution provider, and their customers, in the long run.