BYOD

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Originally published by CensorNet

The poor old IT department, if there were ever an Olympic sport where you could count the moments between suggesting that technology could change the world and then having it bite you on the backside by an unruly mob, well, they’d be gold medallists.

Naturally, an IT team is predisposed to focus on the challenges and risks that a BYOD culture can bring, which is not a bad thing.  In the IT world, BYOD makes the world a more complex place rather than a simpler one. A fixed desktop located on an internal network is always going to be simpler to deploy, easier to manage, easier to secure and much easier to monitor. The risks can be easily identified and mitigated.

The problem with Browsers

With a few exceptions, the main browsers tend to be Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox & Safari. The problem arises when every user’s personal device needs its browser software up to date. Take your fixed, standardised, controlled infrastructure away and it’s not quite as easy. Some applications will simply not work on older browser versions or even with specific browsers. The quality of user experience may be compromised if the right browser is not selected. It can be a fickle, inconsistent way of working.

More importantly, not keeping a browser up to date may expose security flaws that place the device and its content at risk. Many have learned that particular lesson the hard way.

Our old nemesis ‘Malware and spyware infection’

The natural by-product of an increasing tech savvy world is that the bad guys are getting smarter and the users are more ‘click-happy’, particularly on mobile devices.

Users are seldom intentionally malicious, although clearly it happens. However it is often more a case of due diligence when time is a constraint. Not all will adopt sensible security protocols to ensure they are free of Trojans and other malicious autobots that might be hiding within what, at the time, looked like a cool free widget or an article containing a part of Kim Kardashian that broke the internet.

In 2013, a study by Alcatel-lucent in 2013 estimated that 11.6 million devices were infected; a number that is simply likely to grow. The fastest growing infection rates was on Android with Windows and Android being the primary operating systems likely to be targeted.

In Wi-Fi we (Don’t) trust

All mobile devices will invariably hop on and off Wi-Fi with reasonable regularity. The bandwidth and access point will play a role in mitigating the risk of contamination. Using unsecured hotspots increases the risk, not only to the user but potentially the corporate network. The bad guys are smart and unsecure access channels are a happy hunting ground. An experiment by Jonny Milliken, Valerio Selis and Professor Alan Marshall proved that an airborne virus could be transmitted via WiFi from router to router and hence from one device to another. The attempts to access precious data are unrelenting on the increase.

Even on-premise WiFi can be problematic. The strength of any WiFi and available bandwidth may well dictate how usable a commercial application is on any given mobile device. It should be remembered that not all devices have the same capabilities when it comes to transmission and reception.

Authentication

The mechanism of accessing corporate applications, network and resources requires a method of authenticating that the user is who they say they are. Inadequate mechanisms open the door to abuse.

Legal constraints

It may not immediately spring to mind, but a business cannot control the peccadillos of its employees. A personal laptop that has been used for social activities that cross legal boundaries is one that can compromise the integrity of the business and all that could entail. Reputation is as much a protected treasure as any other business asset, as is consumer confidence in who they are buying from.

Data loss

The most precious asset of any organisation is data. Sales prospects, agreements, policies, goals, strategies, Financial Information, Shareholder reports, whatever information an organisation has must be kept secure. The ramifications of data loss can be severe. A user’s device can compromise data in a variety of ways and not just from pernicious access. How much and where on a device is corporate data going to reside? What degree of sensitive data can be trusted to be on a specific users’ device? What about access codes? Is a user storing key account details in plain text somewhere? What happens if a device is lost or stolen, can data leakage truly be prevented?

Device control

If the device belongs to a user, do they have complete administration rights over their device? The owner tends to know how to use their device and how to change configurations. One potentially  damaging scenario is if a user decides to jailbreak their own device so they can access areas that companies like Apple would rather they did not. Android also has its challenges, although not exactly open source, it naturally lends itself to modification and user changes, given its Linux roots. There is an ever-growing community that seeks to either legitimately change code or simply break it because it can be broken and compromised.

Application conflict

What a user downloads onto their own device is by and large a matter for them. Some applications however, particularly apps for smartphones and tablets, can interfere with commercial applications. There is no way that an IT department can track and recommend, from the hundreds of thousands of apps available, which ones are suitable or which could cause cross-application contamination i.e. result in sub-optimal performance or use.

Human error

No matter what technology is used, there is no way of avoiding simple stupidity or oversight by human beings. A human interface is a flawed one simply because we make mistakes and because the users own their devices; mistakes will inevitably happen. Human error will always be the one true constant why there is no such state as 100% secure.

From an IT standpoint, BYOD presents a raft of obstacles. They are challenges that can be met but the solutions are not fool proof and an element of risk will always remain.

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Originally published by AppRiver

New Mobile Device Management (MDM) features are coming home to AppRiver Office 365 Plus, including the ability to selectively wipe mobile devices. Selective wipe of mobile units allows an administrator to revoke access to and delete corporate email that has been synced to a device, as well as specific data associated with Office 365 apps on the device, while retaining any unassociated personal data.

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Selective wipe will work across a diverse range of phones and tablets, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices and is included at no additional cost for all AppRiver Office 365 Plus plans. The addition of the selective wipe capability and MDM features listed below to the already robust Office 365 Plus arsenal ensures that your Office 365 experience remains easy, effective and affordable

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Mobile Device Management options include:

Selective wipe

Ability to perform either a full remote wipe of a corporate smartphone or tablet or a selective wipe of Office 365 company data from an employee’s device while leaving any personal data in place.

Conditional access

Set up security policies to ensure that Office 365 corporate email and documents can be accessed only on phones and tablets that are managed by your company and that are compliant with your IT policies.

Device management

Set and manage security policies, such as device-level pin lock and jailbreak or root detection, to help prevent unauthorized users from accessing corporate email and data on a lost or stolen device. 

Mobile Device Management Options introduced to AppRiver Office 365 Plus

Cloud-based management for devices that run on iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android and Windows Phone will be supported and the roll out for these capabilities will be completed in 4-6 weeks. All features will be included with all AppRiver Office 365 Plus and bundle licenses.

Contact our Sales Team today on  0118 9898 222 to find out more about Office 365

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The managed service best practice offerings template is intended to provide a list of the most common offerings that are currently being deployed by newly formed managed service practices.

The list has been developed based on the experience of IPED consultants, research conduct with numerous channel partners and direct discussions with partners that have successfully built an MSP practice. Although the customer offerings vary from MSP to MSP, most of the solution providers that have built a successful MSP practice have started their practice with one or more of a variety of managed services.  You can read the CompTIA Managed Service Best Practice Offerings study here.

Need more help with finding the right solutions for your MSP business? Call our sales team today on 0118 9898 222.

 

 

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We joined industry leaders and professionals at the CompTia EMEA Conference on 5th and 6th November. This event gave our team a good opportunity to meet with our current and new Resellers and other industry professionals.

Throughout the day, our team were busy talking to MSPs and Resellers about the best technology to run their businesses, covering I.T. automation, disaster recovery, anti-spam and malware solutions.

Nicola and Janet CompTiaThe event was also a great opportunity for us to join two of our vendors at their stands - StorageCraft, a data backup and disaster recovery vendor and AppRiver, provider of email messaging and Web security solutions. Our Product Manager, Nicola Boswell is pictured left with Janet O'Sullivan, StorageCraft Marketing Manager. We also met with Western Digital, who will be joining our portfolio to enable us to provide end-to-end solutions for Resellers.

We'll tell you more about that soon...

Our Sales Manager, Emma Wale, who attended the two day event commented “being at CompTia puts us among our industry peers and shows we are committed to providing the best service and leading solutions for MSPs and Resellers”.

If you missed our team at CompTia, you can contact us on 0118 9898 222 and speak to our product specialists or visit our website.

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It's been a busy time at Blue Solutions and we wanted to keep you up-to-date with some of our changes, especially when it's good news for our MSPs and Resellers.

We've recently welcomed a new team member

We've expanded our technical team and Deane Mallinson, our new Sales Engineer joined us in September. Deane's wide ranging role will be to focus on the support function offered by Blue Solutions.

With 20 years' experience, in the I.T. industry ranging from first line support to management, Dean PictureDeane will be managing our internal, external, pre and post sales support helpdesk, while mentoring our team.

As Deane's qualifications include MCSE, MCSP, KLCT, KLCSA and GCT, he is well equipped to ensure our customers get the support they deserve.

As part of our continued commitment to supporting and investing in I.T. graduates,  Chris Kudzin has joined Deane's team as our I.T. apprentice.

 

Other changes

Emma at Blue SolutionsEmma Wale (pictured left), a long-standing member of the Blue Solutions Team was recently promoted to being our Sales Manager. With extensive experience in the I.T. and software channel distribution industries, Emma's main focus will be to manage sales growth and overall profitability for Blue Solutions.

While continuing to work as the main contact for DataFortress, the online backup solution (powered by Attix5), she will support and develop our sales and product specialists on a daily basis.

What's happening with our other team members?

Our product  and sales specialists roles have changed too.  Our sales team (pictured below) will be available to manage your orders and help with any queries on a daily basis.

Blue Solutions Team Updated

We also now have a team of vendor specialists, who are available to help you develop your business, with solutions for the channel. You can view our key vendors at our website.

Why have we made these changes? As parts of our business have moved into the managed services sector, we have restructured our sales team to ensure we continue to provide the best service for all of our customers. Your contacts are:

nicola-ImageNicola Boswell (pictured left) is our Specialist for AppRiver and StorageCraft

 

 

 

Sharon Pace has been appointed as our Blue Solutions Key Account Manager and Tom Mangion is our Trend Micro Renewals Specialist.

If you need any questions about our vendor products, please contact out sales team on 0118 9898 222.

 

We already said that BYOD is one of the most significant trends affecting enterprises. It brings many new challenges but it also comes with a bunch of opportunities, and a lot of advanced tools to help the IT people embracing it having efficient implementations today.

This is not about making the company more social, it is that BYOD has the potential to change the nature of the companies for the better giving them the ability to offer a variety of mobile apps to ALL employees, regardless of their position, OS, and device that would enhance, accelerate an make them more productive. This would be the environment where an IT manager would be running a “New Age Company”.

This kind of company , transformed by the mobile applications, changes from every angle and every area. Even the perpetually busy teams usually not fond of social technologies like the legal ones would use the mobile apps and become more productive.

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When they realize the possibilities, all these departments will be coming to IT. Then, You, the IT leader, will stand out for your ability to initiate innovation within the organization. By enabling all departments to connect more closely with employees and customers, IT will be the team driving increased productivity, as well as improved customer and employee experience.

Today we will explore different apps scenarios in several departments, this may provide you with some Tips & Tricks that you may apply in your own working environment. This may be specially important because despite the fact that employees started the BYOD trend, some have mixed feelings about their being connected with their teams and bosses 24/7. Mobile capabilities let the managers have more control over the work force, so it becomes important to come to a work-life balance.

Let's analyze the BYOD performance, benefits, and issues in some of the key areas in enterprises.

Human Resources: A lot has been said about using mobile apps to streamline processes, increase productivity and enhance the client experience. But what about improving the working environment making employees feel connected, supported and empowered. Using applications such as short surveys, it is possible to measure the employees sentiment. Some others to help automating and accelerating the processes. A New Age Enterprise enables HR to creat a strong connection with employees, empowering their communication and performance even if they are remote or home office workers. HR can easily interact with employees and manage the relationship with them, this creates loyalty bonds. Loyal satisfied employees make a more productive team that also attracts other high quality possible employees.

Marketing: Marketing is already one of the biggest consumer of technology in the organizations, also is the one of the areas with a stronger BYOD activity. According to a recent article in Information Week US, Marketing is the area that is using a self IT budget. Marketing has already jumped to mobile and their success depends on the company's ability to help them operating and moving key corporate information in a secure mobile environment. They will be grateful when there are guidelines procedures to allow this New Age Company to move full steam ahead.

"Marketing is a peculiar area where the creativity temperance and the pragmatical business parameters mixed together towards competitiveness. Amongst many other things marketing wants employees to

byodidentify with the brand and products, so a set of apps may be developed to create brand awareness both inside and outside the company. Moreover marketing managers want whole access to important company data in dashboards and reports; as well a full access to social media. That could be a dangerous combination if not subject to policies and procedures." Stated John Timko, Marketing Director  in LabTech Software.

Finance: CFOs are also finding that apps make their lives easier according to the article entitled Apps Make Everyday Life Easier for CFOs in CFO-Insight Magazine. CFOs want  apps to get the latest news from the financial world, compare interest rates and view the financial figures of their company – and perhaps compare them to competitors, quickly, before they even get to the office. It's true that financial apps started to procure information; however they have become  way to  optimize financial processes. For example, a "New Age Company" may have apps for finance to make it easier to managers to analyze data and take quicker decisions. There could be also apps for clients, so they can easily apply for loans, or credit cards. With the help of IT, the "New Age Companies"  can create secure access to corporate back-end corporate systems from any where in the world allowing them to give continuity to the financial processes that sometime stops when the manager to authorize is not present.

Sales: Sales can become more productive and efficient when they have mobile access to integrated back-end applications like CRMs and ERPs that give them a 360 degree view of the products' and services' performance and the clients' purchase trends and cycles; as well as their credit and payment  history.

BYOD gives IT a springboard to lead the New Age Companies revolution. Once the managers and all departments understand the possibilities, they will go to the ITs to develop and deploy multiple applications, big and small.

By Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group

In our first part I talked about the considerations when defining BYOD policies, I provided some statistics of the BYOD trend worldwide. But the last word I not in the organizations’ side but in the employees and devices’ owners’ side.

Considering that the main company principle goal toward the mobile devices is intended to equip the workforce with the most appropriate mobile devices to enhance their productivity and performance in the role they play, the BYOD users should take on account that this is not including them performing their work in the most comfortable way or having the tools they want for their personal activities and amusement.

Everybody talks from the company’s perspective, but what about the employees’ view? Employees using their own devices to perform work tasks are doing this to have a more comfortable work environment, since the mobile device allows them to execute some activities in less time, making them more productive and maybe giving them more time to enjoy with their families or in personal activities. The other day, I invited a friend I’d not seen in a long time to have a drink, she’d be regularly attached to her office at that time, but loading the CRM app in her iPad allowed her to go to have a drink with me instead of being alone in her office just waiting for the information to perform a task in the CRM, that – by the way – took her not long that five minutes.

From our perspective, she spent her time in a better way, she was able to avoid stay late in at work, and instead he had some fun and relaxed herself; after doing her work through her iPad, she posted some funny pics in Facebook, sent a message to her teenage son, and we even check on some stuff in the internet. We would buy some tickets to go to the movies that weekend.

The company where she works is not giving her an iPad or any other tablet to do her work in a remote way; they are not interested in having her leaving the office early and having a more relaxed yet productive life.

According to John Timko, LabTech Software Marketing Director and expert in mobile monitoring and management, the MDM tools would be only monitoring the corporate apps and data. This sounds great from the technological perspective, if an agent was installed in my personal smartphone or iPad, my device would be even safer.

Yet, some questions about the companies’ policies pop up now. What if the carrier and plan I want is not included in their policies? What if apps I want to install in my mobile device are not allowed by their policies? What if I want to have different roaming or international configurations?  I assume that if the company is going to save some money instead of giving me a device because I am using my personal one, they would at least share some of the expenses with me. If I don’t agree to use my own device, is the company going to give one without deteriorating my life quality? Or, am I obligated to accept the company’s conditions to maintain this life quality and productivity levels, or do I have to choose between having a good life and being productive, when I know I may have both?

BYOD is not only for companies to consider and define policies, it is also for the owners of the devices to decide whether they want to give this benefit to their employer, if it is going to be appreciated, or if they would just ask to be given a mobile device for work purposes. This negotiation and decision is a consideration for the mobile devices owners.

Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group

BYOD-program-diagramMany opinions have been given about the policies and decisions that the companies have to take regarding the BYOD mobile phones and even company owned ones. Statistics tell us that BYOD is a growing trend.

The firm Gartner for example states BYOD as a “disruptive phenomenon” where employees use their own mobile devices in the company and demands to be connected to servers, etc. without the proper oversight. According to the firm, 70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018.

According to Magic’s State of BYOD Infographic there are already 1 billon smartphone users around the world, with 1.3 billion smartphone and tablet sales expected in 2013. Of course this attracts the IT department’s attention as they would need to provide support to all these devices connecting to their corporate networks.

While most networks have been supporting the corporate BlackBerries, the trend is drastically shifting towards Apple and Android devices. IT departments report mobile apps being used not only in mobile email and web browsers, but social media, task and project management, CRM, and other apps that interact with corporate information.

No doubt that embracing the rise of BYOD represents the opportunity for IT to change their role from service providers and technology partners to leaders and business strategists. However taking this initiative requires identifying particular needs and setting clear policies as well as a powerful remote monitoring and mobile device management to have full control of the network. This can lead the company to a New Age of enterprise mobility enabling increased productivity and operational efficiencies, securely and cost-effectively.

Defining the rules may involve various factors in the company.

  • The mobility policy guiding and principles
  • Repercussions if policy is breached
  • The definitions – mobile device either smartphones and tablets
  • The corporate liable devices
  • The employee liable devices – BYOD
  • The liable carriers and rate plans for both the company and the employee devices
  • The international and roaming rules
  • The liable carrier features / services
  • The handset features / functions
  • The mobility management and monitoring of both the company and employees devices
  • The expense management either for company and employees devices
  • The applications and information management in both smartphones and tablets
  • The security of the mobiles and the network
  • The mobile data access
  • Help desk and support

This is said about the companies but what about the devices’ owners?

Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group

BYOD and New Network Requirements

Adopting BYOD increases the bandwidth usage, deteriorating the performance of other devices and applications in the network. This becomes definitely a pain instead of the expected advantage.

According to BT and Cisco’s research, the companies implementing BYOD practices should reinforce their networks, their security and obtain complete control of all the devices in them whether they are mobiles or not, to accomplish their planned productivity.

According to research based in 2,200 surveys to executives and companies in 13 countries along the different regions, the growth of mobiles devices is exponential and has increased the bandwidth usage in 84%. Actually, 56% of IT managers have detected a lower performance in the network and certain applications as a result of the increased bandwidth consumption. This impacts the devices’ maintenance processes and updates as well.

These negative effects are perceived by the employees; 46% of the employees with Wi-Fi access have detected delays in connecting to the network, in the applications deployment and performance, and in their devices updating, briefing, their systems whether mobiles or not have become slower in every mean. 76% of the professionals that responded to the survey think that companies should take the needed measures to increase the productivity, security, and performance. From the surveyed TI professionals, 33% suggested working with more applications based in Cloud, 32% suggested using specialized software, and 32% suggested increasing support to mobile devices users.

BYOD RMM

 

This is clearly one of the most common pains produced by the innovative mobile revolution. Now read this:

Even though having a Wi-Fi access is fundamental to a BYOD development, 45% of the employees do not have Wi-Fi access to their corporate networks. Of this number 68% thinks that having this access would turn into a positive impact on their work, 30% said it would increase their flexibility at work, and 26% said it would ease their contact within the company.

Network capacity is definitely not the only challenge to consider when adopting BYOD. Actually, 84% of the surveyed IT professionals said that BYOD could be a competitive advantage only if the necessary processes, tools, and policies are adopted; 26% think that employees understand the requirements to get the access and permissions for their mobile devices.

RMM and MDM are definitely one of these requirements; a properly applied continuous RMM/MDM policy allows the IT professionals to control the installation, deployment and performance of each application and device whether it is BYOD or not. RMM/MDM tolls also control the corporate information security and access in the network help

ing it to improve its performance. Additionally, the regular RMM/MDM processes reinforce security policies along the network, devices and corporate information.

Gordon Thompson, EMEA Enterprise Network Director in Cisco, stated that they already have a BYOD model. They started in 2009 only with smart phones, achieving savings of 25% on cost-per-employee. They recently added 82% more devices to their base increasing the number of users by28%. He added that companies intending to implement BYOD definitely have to consider a BYOD comprehensive plan beyond the operating system; they have to consider the device support and maintenance, , the end user experience and the increased productivity.

John Timko, Marketing Director at LabTech Software, explained that RMM/MDM services, IT networks and application performance work hand-in-hand. RMM certainly improves the network and devices’ performance.

Timko added that in a nutshell, the appropriate RMM and MDM services together with high performing network hardware and software can deliver any IT support and management task or process that needs to be accomplished remotely, efficiently and non-intrusively, giving the support and performance needed to achieve the desired productivity, and end-user experience and at the same time reinforcing security and information availability.

The smart phones and tablets trend is to continue growing, and companies need to develop BYOD plans, so they imminently need a cost-effective RMM and of course MDM solution. The market is there, opened and in need, waiting for experienced RMM and MDM services and solutions provider to help them achieve their performance goals.

Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group

 

BYOD is definitely a pain but also an advantage to companies; an advantage because at first sight it represents huge savings since they don’t have to invest or spend?... in smartphones for their executives and employees. However, the security gaps become real threats.

The owned smartphone use for work purposes continues to expand, and the governance, risk and compliance implications of the trend are beginning to take the companies attention. According to a recent survey by Search basic_security_iconCompliance, "security risk" was cited by 96% of respondents as being among their top concerns regarding BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives in their organizations.

"Compliance" was the second-ranked top BYOD concern in the survey, taken by 773 IT professionals during SearchCompliance's April 24 virtual conference, The State of Cyber Security 2013.

All these new mobile technologies are changing the way business is done -- often in positive ways. 41% of the survey responders stated that these technologies ‘make workers more productive’. However CIOs also consider that these small mobile devices with vast capabilities force them to re-engineer the business processes and implement security and management tools to offset mobile device security risks.

It professionals work is not to say 'no,' -- their job is to explain the senior leaders the risks and the rewards of bringing this technology into the organization, and to provide the correct tools to have the network, processes, and corporate information safe.

“BYOD in today’s world is very popular however the amount of personal mobile devices linked to corporate systems provide a security nightmare for any IT admin. The MDM plugin in LabTech offers advanced control over iPhone and android which allow you to remotely wipe/destroy the data on the device should it become lost/stolen.” Explained  Matt Towell, Network Administrator, DataFortress & LabTech Technical Engineer at Blue Solutions.

There are compelling arguments for mobile technology use in the workplace, but the IT leaders need to have discussions with the C-suite about these mobile device security controls. Of course they need to include RMM and BYOD projects as an integrated part of the regular security and network management and optimization budgets.

IT Professionals have to have their eyes wide open and say, 'Look, if we are using these new mobile technologies, we need to have the controls and tools to manage them and secure them as well as our information and network.

Yes BYOD is a pain but also a benefit, the pain may be healed with the adequate RMM tool, then the benefits may increase exponentially, same as the savings and the IT staff time optimization.

Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group