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Consumer Devices Changing the Public Sector Workspace

March 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm PST

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is taking hold in workplaces around the world, but some of my recent reading has led me to explore more deeply the impact of this trend on communication and security in the public sector.

An article in Forbes summed it up well: people rely more and more on smaller, mobile gadgets, and they’re using these devices to support telepresence and other collaboration tools to conduct work-related business. Though this embrace of BYOD (also called consumerization) means more flexibility to work from anywhere, more accessibility to coworkers and supervisors, and more opportunities for collaboration, it raises security concerns.

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Moving Beyond BYOD: Connecting the ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ Workforce

With more than seven billion souls set to tote 10 billion mobile-connected devices by 2016, mobility has not just arrived, it’s taken over our schools, businesses and personal lives.

Just ask Mitch Davis, the CIO of Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts college in Maine. Before BYOD ever became a global IT trend, according to Mitch, the vast majority of college students were already bringing their personal devices into the campus environment.

These co-eds expected Bowdoin to fully embrace personal mobility, and, upon graduation, these same post-grads expect that their employers will do the same (this year’s Connected World Technology Report findings back this up, with more than 40 percent of recent college graduates/Gen Y employees choosing BYOD flexibility over higher pay).

Bottom line, the rules of the game are changing, and companies must move beyond basic BYOD connectivity to meet employee demands today and tomorrow. To help companies meet these demands, we’ve introduced a comprehensive approach that unifies policy, supports a better user experience and simplifies management to deliver an uncompromised user experience in any workspace. After all, Cisco wants to empower IT managers to allow employees to have their devices and use them too. That means delivering:

  1. A unified security policy across the whole organization – wired, wireless, VPN and now MDM – helping companies set and enforce policies;
  2. An uncompromised user experience over the entire wired/wireless network, across any type of device; and,
  3. Simplified operations and network management to understand application performance from a user’s perspective, accelerating troubleshooting and lowering operating costs.

Like Ray-Ban aviators, BYOD is here to stay. And done the right way, BYOD demands a comprehensive approach to allow current and future employees to work how they want, when and where they want, and on the devices they want – while still allowing IT the control and visibility to sleep at night.

Learn more about our announcement and new technologies here.

By the way, whether you’re a college student or have been working for 30 years, you’re eligible to take the BYOD Challenge and win a trip to 2012 London Olympics – good luck!

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Brisbane Girls Grammar School Embraces and Enables Mobile Learning

Have you seen the video of the one year old child trying to use a magazine like an iPad?  It makes for fascinating viewing and an indication that while today’s students consider the internet to be important in their lives, many of tomorrow’s students will not know a world without internet, particularly mobile internet.

Some schools are already tackling this mobile experience.  Brisbane Girls Grammar School is a secondary school in Queensland, Australia with 1000 students.   It has recognised the extent to which mobile devices, communications and technology play an integral role in business and consumer lifestyles and recently implemented a “bring your own device” strategy for students and teachers. It runs a wireless network across its campus that supports two personal devices per person — whether laptop, mobile phone or tablet — as well as school owned devices.  Up to 3,000 devices are supported on the network for educational purposes at one time.

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Impact of Bringing Your Own Devices for Work and the Network

Recently Jon Stine with Cisco IBSG wrote in the Cisco Retail blog an article titled “In Between the Numbers: Bring Your Own Device Do we know what that means?” where he talked about the changes that the BYOD concept brings to the change in the culture of employees leveraging technology to get their job done, and how it not just impacts the end point technology but all the network and information technology infrastructure.

I recently went to New York  for the National Retail Federation Conference and I took a picture of all the devices (excluding my laptop) that I carried with me for use at the hotel, in the booth, and while I was at 30,000 ft.

Cius, iPad, iPhone

As I think back about working with multiple devices (both issued to me and owned by me) during the week, here are some areas that impacted IT.

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In Between the Numbers: Bring Your Own Device Do we know what that means?

January 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm PST

I was at a technology conference in London late last year, and the topic was mobility – and, inevitably, BYOD: bring your own device.

The mobility evangelists (and they dominated the four-person panel) waxed poetic as to all the fabulous things that iPhone- and Android-armed employees could bring to the business. Rich content! Social networking! Collaboration! Meeting each other for lunch!

Then a grouchy American analyst walked to the podium, and growled two words: “Data Security.”

And silence fell like a thick blanket over the room.

BYOD is one of technology’s topics du jour, an issue that will create a few tons of PowerPoint and a fresh revenue line for consulting firms in the next 18-24 months.

Cynicism aside, it’s a very important issue – and not just for ICT shops. And, it’s an issue that will be easily misunderstood.

Yes, BYOD is about data security. Yes, there’s a need for hard and high corporate security walls. Clearly-stated rules. And devout attention to PCI.

But beyond that, let’s pause and reflect.

BYOD is not about the devices. The devices will continue to evolve at Moore’s Law speed, and the stuff the kids are bringing into the office today will be obsolete by the time your new policies reach the governance committee.

Truth be told, BYOD is about the big tech-driven generational change in expectations and behavior. It’s about the new normal of life with the Internet. Life in the Internet.

It’s about Millennials who use technology like I use a knife and fork. It’s about a tsunami wave flooding every phase of business life – from the headquarters office to the distribution center to the store.

And this tsunami will not just touch devices. It will drive change in the cloud content that employees will use. It will drive change in their willingness to sit in cubes (versus do the work at home or at Starbucks or wherever there’s a fast wireless pipe). It will drive change in their expectations for interaction and participation, for education and training.

It will even touch the glowing third rail of data security. (As this is the generation of Wiki-Leaks and unbridled transparency on Facebook.)

Agree? Disagree?

 Let me know what you think.

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