Avaya Expands BYOD Solutions in Identity Engines 8.0

Avaya and other networking vendors are creating offerings to make it easier and more secure for employees to access the corporate networks with their smartphones and tablets.

Avaya is enhancing its Identity Engines solution with new features designed to offer enterprises greater control and security of their networks while they address the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

The new capabilities in Identity Engines 8.0 are designed to make it easier for businesses to offer employees and guests secure access to corporate networks with their own personal mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Avaya€™s efforts in dealing with the consumerization of IT mirror what other major networking vendors€”with Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Hewlett-Packard and Enterasys Networks being among the most recent examples€”are doing.

The BYOD trend has become a significant issue for IT departments since smartphones began hitting the markets several years ago. IT staffs need to offer executives, employees and guests who are using their own devices access to the company€™s wired and wireless networks and corporate data, while at the same time finding ways to manage and secure that access.

With Identity Engines 8.0, Avaya officials said they are offering a complete solution that touches on applications, infrastructure and professional services. Doing all that several years ago€”when the norm was the company issuing corporate PCs and cell phones to employees€”was relatively easy. That has changed in recent years with the rise of smartphones and tablets, though even now, businesses need to know who is accessing the networks and with what devices, Avaya officials said.

The enhanced solution was introduced May 8 at the Interop 2012 show in Las Vegas. Identity Engines are part of Avaya€™s larger Mobile Collaboration for Enterprise solution for mobile workers, which makes applications and mobile devices work together more securely and reliably, and leverages the vendor€™s collaboration applications, unified communications infrastructure, networking capabilities and services.

There are two new features that specifically address the BYOD challenges.

Ignition Access Portal addresses both wired and wireless networks, giving end users a unified experience and IT staffs the control they need, company officials said. Ignition Access Portal includes auto-registration and device fingerprinting capabilities, giving enterprises a detailed look into what devices are trying to access the network and enabling IT staffs to act according to what they see. The technology can be customized to particular enterprise needs and deployed throughout the network, according to Avaya officials.

In addition, Ignition CASE Client enables automatic configuration of devices, creating secure network access. The technology ensures that devices looking to access the network meet specific security requirements. It also configures the devices without revealing the needed certificates or shared keys to users.

Analysts seem split on whether businesses are resisting or embracing the BYOD trend. However, a report by Avanade in January indicated that about 60 percent of companies are adapting their infrastructures to accommodate employees who want to use their own devices for work, and 65 percent of C-level executives said the growing use of employee-owned devices was a top priority for their companies.