A 2011 Unisys study
conducted by IDC found that while a growing number of IT
departments are committed to
supporting the use of consumer devices in the business environment, they are
concerned about security, support issues and growing workloads. However, the
trend continues: The study, released in July, found that 40 percent of devices
that information workers use to access business applications are personally
owned, a 10-point jump from 2010.
Personal devices pose
numerous challenges in the work environment, including securing the data,
ensuring the quality of the service and setting the policies to determine the
level of access the devices have to
the network. Vendors are looking for
ways to make it easier for businesses to identify and authenticate employee
devices trying to access the network, and to ensure the proper level of access
According to Gartner, the Mobile Device Management space is
just getting under way, though there are already more than 60 vendors in this
market. Gartner estimates that in the next three years, revenue in the MDM
space will grow 15 to 20 percent, from $150 million in 2010.
"The BYOD trend is here, and
it's here to stay," said Paul Durzan,
director of mobility at Cisco. "If you think about it, people want to be simply connected."
In April, Cisco unveiled its Identity Services Engine (ISE) for
wired and wireless networks to help enterprises automatically track "visitors"
to their corporate networks by enabling administrators to enforce policies that
determine who is allowed on the network and what their access privileges are,
all the while keeping the network secure.
In June, the networking giant unveiled a wireless-only version
of ISE. It will identify the device trying to access the network, authenticate
the user, set access levels and "make sure the endpoint doesn't become a threat
vector," Durzan said, adding that it's all done in seconds.
Hewlett-Packard offers both wired and wireless access through
its Mobile Access Solution portfolio-including the new E-Series Multi Service
Mobility (MSM) 460 and 466 wireless access points-as well as wireless security offerings through its
TippingPoint and RF Manager solutions. That
combination of management and security is crucial for helping IT staffs
meet the demands of employees while protecting the network, according to Jeff
Schwartz, senior product manager of mobility and wireless for HP Networking.
Smaller vendors also are
offering solutions. Meraki's Client Fingerprinting technology can identify
devices that connect to the network; a device's operating system, make and
model; and client information, such as the NetBIOS name and MAC address. The
information is uploaded to Meraki's host network platform, called Cloud
Controller, and made available to network administrators.
Another vendor, Kaseya, rolled out its Web-based Mobile Device
Management module in August. It lets network administrators manage mobile
endpoints and traditional devices from a single point.
A Wide-Ranging Policy
Unisys officials are
crafting a wide-ranging BYOD policy that will encompass everything from data
center architecture transformation to application modernization, according to
Titus. As part of the policy, employees who want to use personal mobile devices
need to sign an Acceptable Use Agreement (AUA).
The agreement comes with
conditions, including that users let Unisys install a public key infrastructure
(PKI) device certificate on the devices for authentication whenever they're
used to access the network. Remote-wipe software also must be on the device.
By signing the AUA, users acknowledge that they understand that
the device can be seized for an indeterminate amount of time if it-or the data
on it-is part of a legal dispute.
Such precautions are important. "Smart devices are really WMDs
[weapons of mass destruction]," Titus said, given the damage they can do to a
company if used improperly.
Titus said that such an expansive approach to the BYOD trend is
necessary given the growing number of mobile devices employees are using and
the rapid pace of innovation.
"It's Android and iPad today,
but it could be something different tomorrow," she said. "You want to ask
yourself, -Are you solving the problem of the future, or just solving the
problem of today?'"
eWEEK East Coast Managing Editor Jeffrey Burt can be reached at