Alan Laing, VP EMEA for Acronis looks at how VARs can help theenterprise make the most of growing mobility challenges.
It’s no secret that the incredible growth of the tablet and smartphone markets in the last two years has caused massive disruption in the traditional world of IT.
For many users, personal mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone and Android-based tablets from the likes of Samsung are becoming their first point of daily contact and collaboration. In many instances, these devices are usurping some of the roles typically performed by more traditional IT products, such as laptops and desktop PCs.
The growing adoption of tablets and smartphones has been accompanied by the creation of large ecosystems that have provided the environment for an explosive growth in mobile applications. While the tablet and smartphone phenomena were initially spurred by people buying the devices for their personal use, there has been significant encroachment into corporate environments. This has led to a clamour for organisations to implement BYOD policies that reflect the reality of employees seeking to use tablets and smartphones within the work environment.
But there’s a lot more to BYOD than just issuing approval for someone to use an iPad or Samsung Galaxy for work. From an access point of view, organisations need to make sure that allowing access from mobile devices does not compromise the security and integrity of their corporate networks. This means concentrating on areas such as auto-configuration, data containerisation and secure tunnelling to protect corporate data and give mobile IT teams the policy and security controls they need.
At the same time, to avoid BYOD becoming merely a vanity project, they need to ensure employees will work better and more efficiently with their tablet or smartphone. The best way to achieve this is to integrate the devices more tightly with the existing infrastructure and provide the same level of secure and managed access to files and content on enterprise files servers, SharePoint and NAS storage, that users would experience with a laptop or desktop.
This represents a very strong opportunity for channel partners that can help businesses understand the twin benefits of securing access while delivering work benefits for the employee and the organisation through the use of tablets and smartphones. The value provided by channel partners able to provide the platform to fulfill these requirements will become even more widely understood and appreciated as mobile devices become more prevalent across all industries and roles, including sales, marketing, finance, legal, customer support and R&D.
Some vendors are already providing secure mobile app and device management products that channel partners can take to customers implementing a BYOD policy or seeking to increase the mobility of their workforce. Other vendors are offering secure mobile file management products to help businesses provide users with access to enterprise files and content. Some have moved a step further by integrating mobile app and device management with mobile file management, giving channel partners a platform that can help businesses strengthen and standardise mobile app security and compliance and configure apps from a central location.
Partnering with the right providers to create an ecosystem to manage and protect a company’s data as part of its mobile strategy, will put channel partners in pole position to help enterprises enable their users to achieve the nirvana of being more productive from anywhere and on any device.