This blog first appeared on Best in UC.
First, companies were obsessed with protecting wired connections to their networks. Then, the focus shifted almost exclusively to wireless connections. And now, users are hammering the network with more diverse devices than ever, looking for a network connection.
What’s the solution? Aruba Networks has developed several new technologies to ensure that network access is easy for users, no matter their technology, while corporate infrastructure remains secure.
Recently, the company launched a new series of Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches designed to provide secure, role-based network access for users, no matter their location, device or application. The Aruba S3500 Mobility Access Switch is a wired access switch, which authenticates users and their devices the same way wireless access points already do in thousands of organizations. As a result, there is no need to manage and provision separate policies for wireless and wired access.
These wired access switches are especially useful for companies that need to manage the safety and security of every single connection, whether wired or wireless. These might include military offices, medical offices and brokerage houses. When a user plugs into a wired jack on site, they can be recognized as a guest and only allowed a connection to the Internet – and not inside the network.
In addition, Aruba is greatly enhancing the number of wireless gadgets it supports. When a user’s device reaches out to the network, Aruba can validate the device type, ask for user login information, and authenticate the user. It can even determine the user’s location.
All of this is accomplished with Aruba’s Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) architecture. MOVE makes access privileges available based on user, device, application and location. All of these factors are examined to decide what kind of network access the user is entitled to have.
As a result, the entire mobile enterprise workforce has consistent, secure access to the appropriate network resources based on who they are – no matter where they are, what device they’re using or how they’re connected.
Aruba has embraced the handheld world, allowing for each authentication of iPhones, Blackberries, Droids, iPads and other mobile devices. This offers several benefits for devices whose knowledge workers rely on smartphones and tablets. For example, in a medical office, doctors with easy network access are more likely to perform medical coding on-the-fly during patient exams. The upside? Studies have shown that physicians do a dramatically better job than a clerk coding various medical procedures, which speeds the billing and collections process along with insurance companies.
This blog first appeared on Best in UC.
Just two years ago, it seemed that RIM’s Blackberry product set was unassailable in the corporate smartphone race.
Yes, the iPhone was all the rage with consumers. But corporate IT and telecom managers had marginalized the Apple product as not ready for primetime (or strict corporate security policies). RIM’s Blackberry Enterprise Server was head of the class in enforcing security and administering access policies for almost every corporate network. Thousands of business apps were deployed and in use every day.
But in the summer of 2009, I spotted a troubling trend for Blackberry. As we deployed an IP telephony solution for a Global 100 corporation, I had the opportunity to meet most of the company’s upper management. I quizzed them on their preference for handheld devices. To a person, all had a company-issued Blackberry in one pocket and a personal iPhone in the other.
They eagerly showed me the variety of business applications they could perform with the iPhone. We were deploying a client for their Blackberry to provide a virtual connection to the corporate IPBX, and the universal question was, “When will we have this for the iPhone?” I asked our vendor partner the same question.
Fast forward two years and look at the landscape now. For 2011, Apple forecasts 80 million iPhone shipments and an astounding 40 million iPads as well. An incredible number of these are destined for corporate America. The security issues have been addressed and a new dynamic has emerged: Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT). And the preferred technology is overwhelmingly Apple.
Just this week, I visited with one of our key vendors that transacts business in 27 countries, with a field force of more than 500 employees. They are providing iPhones to everyone and equipping the sales force with iPads. All others are encouraged to use their own iPads as needed. Yes, the Android is gaining steam, but it is actually hampered by the openness of the platform. App developers have to deal with multiple implementations of their software on all different screen sizes, resolutions, and front ends to the underlying Android operating system.
How does corporate telecom management handle this influx of employee-owned technology? The major smartphone manufacturers have tools for administering security, wiping stolen or lost phones, and distributing software. And with the move to cloud-based (centralized) computing, many of the applications are accessed via browser as opposed to phone-based apps. Distribution and standardization as provided by Apple and the Android market ease the workload of the telecom manager in deploying software.
BYOT is here to stay. It is the new normal in distribution and administration of smartphone apps, including unified communications applications.