Change is difficult. Change is scary. This is why it is usually met with resistance at first. In time, however, what initially seems threatening often emerges as bold and exciting as anticipation of the possible overcomes fear of the unknown.
And while big changes are afoot in the enterprise - virtualization, consolidation, the cloud - none is as far-reaching in terms of the way people actually engage data environments as the rise of consumer mobile devices. And true to form, it seems that much of the hand-wringing over bring your own device (BYOD) is starting to fall by the wayside.
A new survey from Avanade Inc. reports that upwards of 60 percent of companies are actively upgrading their infrastructure to accommodate consumer devices rather than placing restrictions on access. That flies in the face of most reports thus far that indicate widespread resistance to the movement. But the simple fact is that many top executives are sporting their own mobile devices and are quickly adapting to the freedom and flexibility they provide.
So it would seem that most organizations will only be able to put the brakes on consumerization for so long, at which point the question changes from "How do we stop this?" to "How can we best accommodate this new reality without compromising our data and resource integrity?"
This is what Cisco found out in a survey of more than 1,500 IT executives intended to gauge their attitudes toward smartphones and other mobile devices. As expected, security topped the list of concerns, followed by application and data access. There's also the small matter of cost, not only for the changes in infrastructure but potential licensing of new software and services to bring new devices on board.
Obviously, part of those infrastructure changes will have to be made at the data center edge. Enterasys Networks, for example, recently upgraded its OneFabric Edge architecture to support mobile application delivery. A key component is the Wireless Services Engine (WiSE), a virtual WLAN controller that bundles traditional controller functions with security and management services on a virtual platform, enabling enterprises to quickly deploy access services to the network edge.
Indeed, wireless access to internal resources does not automatically bring chaos, according to Huddle's EVP of Strategy Andy McLoughlin. A quick audit of the most popular devices in your work force should generate three top platforms in need of support. Then a simple workflow diagram can be used to chart out the results of various deployment options, namely the decision to allow customer-owned units or to limit access to company-provided hardware and software, or perhaps a mix of both.
What IT executives need to keep in mind, though, is that these changes are coming regardless of what device users have in their hands. And the more quickly they can adapt to this new service-based role, the easier it will be to embrace the continual evolution of data technology.