Aruba Offers Improved Device, App Control for BYOD Environments

With Aruba Workspace, the vendor is offering a single solution that offers network, device and app management.

Aruba Networks is looking to help businesses deal with the growing bring-your-own-device trend by adding device and application management capabilities to the vendor’s network access control feature in its ClearPass solution.

Aruba officials on April 10 unveiled Aruba Workspace, a component of the company’s ClearPass Access Management System, which the company rolled out a year ago to enable businesses to apply mobile device and management policies to mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, that are accessing the corporate network.

With Aruba Workspace, the vendor is offering what officials said is the first solution to combine network access control (NAC), mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). Until now, companies have been forced to use single solutions for each capability, according to Manav Khurana, senior director of product and solutions marketing at Aruba.

“Since the emergence of BYOD [bring your own device] and mobility in the enterprise, the IT security model has been turned upside down,” Khurana told eWEEK.

Before, IT departments could build security and management features and policies designed specifically for the mobile devices and applications the company issued employees. However, with employees increasingly using their own smartphones and tablets and mobile applications for work, IT departments are now forced to be more reactive to what is coming onto the network from outside their company.

With Aruba Workspace, the vendor is aiming to simplify the process for businesses to apply NAC, MDM and MAM to this new, more mobile- and BYOD-driven world, Khurana said.

The BYOD trend is being fueled by the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets by executives and employees alike, and while analysts and vendors say it increases productivity and enables greater mobility, for IT staffs, it brings management and security headaches.

"Having apps on tablets and smartphone means that employees can carry their work in their pockets ... and work from any location: Meeting rooms, coffee shops and homes are just the most obvious new offices. Really, office space is now anywhere,” Forrester analysts said in a BYOD report in February.

Aruba in February 2012 introduced ClearPass, which offers administrators a set of modules to handle everything from provisioning and asset inventory to security and management. Included was ClearPass Policy Manager, which offered NAC capabilities for unified network access management.

With Aruba Workspace, ClearPass now offers MDM—which gives IT administrators an easier way to bring mobile devices onto the network and then manage them—and MAM, which helps them manage the mobile apps that workers use on those devices.

Now, with NAC, MDM and MAM in the same solution, businesses have greater visibility into their BYOD environments, Khurana said. It also means that businesses can more easily create policies to better control those environments.

For example, if an employee introduces a jailbroken device onto the network, ClearPass Policy Manager can then wipe out or lock down all confidential corporate applications, he said. The solution can restrict bandwidth-eating apps—such as backing up data and music to an iCloud—during times of network congestion, or turn off a device’s camera and lock down sensitive apps if the device enters a classified location.

He noted that ClearPass with Aruba Workspace is “network fluent,” which enables it to automatically adjust network resources to specific work applications.

Aruba is unveiling its Workspace Mobile App, a self-service portal that employees download onto their devices that offers them network, device and application visibility and control. With the app, employees can manage the devices on the corporate network themselves, Khurana said.

He also said that Aruba enables businesses that might already have an MDM solution in place from another vendor—such as MobileIron or AirWatch—to work with those third-party solutions.

In addition, Aruba is creating an application ecosystem around its Aruba Workspace offering, providing more than 40 mobile applications through its new Workspace Partner Program. These applications touch on a wide range of areas, from enterprise productivity and collaboration (including Microsoft Lync, Cisco Systems’ Tanberg and IBM’s SameTime) to file sharing, file access, document editing and business analysis.

The Aruba Workspace for ClearPass software is being beta tested now and will be generally available in July. The Aruba Workspace mobile app for both Apple iOS and Samsung’s Android-based devices will be available from the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace in July.