Today the trend towards ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) is increasingly impacting IT departments. According to Cisco Consulting Services (CCS) Research 95% of organizations globally now allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace. BYOD does however bring complexity when it comes to security and IT Support. The challenge that the Middle East and Africa will face with BYOD is introducing and managing a solid security strategy. As more and more employees are using devices for both personal and business activities, the issues with potential loss of confidential company data increases as IT departments are less in control. Companies in 2013 will have to ensure that devices have business application and data isolated and protected.
One of the main reasons that companies should implement BYOD programs is to take advantage of the potential financial benefits that come from mobility solutions. The business benefits will vary based on an employee’s role and work requirements but Cisco Consulting Services estimates that the annual benefits from BYOD range from $300 to $1,300 per employee, depending on the employee’s job role. Exponential growth in the use of smart devices has led to significant and increased demand for bandwidth. A quick look at the situation in the East Africa is comforting and worrying at the same time; we can see a strong appetite for the BYOD and productivity gains it brings, but security risks associated with the concept are also featuring prominently with IT department’s mistrust in the concept clearly reflected in replies from the employees. Clearly, there is a lot more that needs to be done on this front to unleash the potential benefits of BYOD. Cisco offers a broad portfolio of mobility products and services to help service providers and enterprises develop a holistic, scalable approach to their mobility initiatives while keeping operational costs in line and optimizing the user experience.
There are three Smart Solutions that can be offered to customers and partners:
- BYOD Smart Solution: The Cisco BYOD Smart Solution transforms the workspace, providing end-to-end BYOD lifecycle management. The solution helps secure data with unified policy, delivers uncompromised experiences with powerful collaboration tools, and simplifies operations with proactive management.
- VXI Smart Solution: The Cisco VXI Smart Solution is a desktop virtualization system that spans Cisco’s Data Center, Borderless Networks and Collaboration architectures to deliver a superior collaboration and rich media user experience in a fully integrated, open and validated desktop virtualization solution.
- Cisco Unified Access is Cisco’s strategy to unify wired, wireless and virtual private networks (VPNs), into a single, highly secure network infrastructure based on one policy source and one management solution for the entire campus network. The new Unified Access products deliver consistent simplicity and intelligence across the entire network, enabling IT organizations to shift the focus away from time-consuming operational activities to those that enable innovative smart business processes. Previously, wireless networks have been built as overlays to the wired network, resulting in two logical networks to manage, and in increased complexity. These problems have been increased as users have brought multiple devices onto the network, leading to difficulty within IT of implementing common access policies, enabling BYOD, securing the network and providing an uncompromised experience.
According to Cisco’s Head of Enterprise and Architectures, Emerging Markets Theatre, “Today’s business needs in Kenya are changing the face of network security. Enterprises are being driven to enable more types of users with greater access to applications, devices and resources. But these enterprises need to make sure that only the right users get access to specific applications, data and service functionality, while securing the rest. Changing demands like BOYD have broken legacy security models, which force IT to choose between enabling greater productivity or greater security.”