BYOD for Manufacturing – not what you think!

March 22, 2012 - 2 Comments

So you think you know what BYOD is? Think again!

Cisco Cius - Not BYOD since it's Corporate provisioned.

If you’re a manufacturer you’ve probably heard of BYOD, or ‘Bring Your Own Device’.  You know that more and more devices are proliferating throughout the organization. You also know that security is a big issue: How do you stop folks accessing sensitive systems, how do you protect Intellectual Property, and how do you prevent a disastrous shutdown caused by a device either intentionally or unintentionally?

Well, these are only some of the issues – and they’re rarely addressed by a ‘Good-Enough Network’. Cisco’s BYOD is different – it looks at the whole picture. It’s not just about your wireless network – although the Cisco offerings are better than most! It’s about an holistic approach to BYOD. That covers the plant, IT, the LAN and fixed wired network and the wireless network too. All aspects.

As my colleague, Katie Taylor, says in her blog:

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:

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

Why is this happening? Employees are demanding not only to use their own devices at work, but also to have more flexibility in the way they work and when and where they work. The Cisco® Connected World Technology Report found that more than 40 percent of college students and young employees said they would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.

Let’s come back to that technology angle. Cisco has really taken the lead here with enhancements that sets it apart from the competition:


  • Unified Policy: Cisco’s approach to moving beyond basic BYOD connectivity provides a unified policy across the organization’s entire network – wired, wireless LAN, cellular and VPN – helping set and enforce specific policies across the entire company based on users’ roles, the devices they are using, the applications in use, and posture information. With this announcement, Cisco is enhancing ISE to include the following:
    • Zero-touch On-boarding: ISE 1.1MR guides users through an easy step-by-step process to quickly self-provision their own device at a time that’s most convenient for them without burdening the IT team, allowing IT to focus on more complex, time-sensitive matters.
    • MDM Policy Integration: To better protect data and enforce compliance on mobile devices, Cisco is working with several MDM vendors including AirWatch, Good Technology, MobileIron and Zenprise to integrate their solutions with ISE. With this integration, IT can use Cisco ISE to define policies that help ensure mobile devices are enrolled in MDM, and gain visibility and control over endpoint access based on policies such as requiring a pin lock, disallowing “jailbroken” devices, or remotely wiping the data on lost or stolen devices.
    • Considering the Connected World Technology Report findings that 70 percent of employees worldwide admit that they break IT policies, with one in five citing the need to access unauthorized programs and applications to get their job done, a unified policy based on both the user needs and company needs will create a more secure work experience that supports employee and IT needs.
  • Uncompromised User Experience: Cisco helps IT optimize the experience for a diverse set of users with any type of device, and any type of desktop (native or virtual), across the wired/wireless network, allowing them to evolve their business beyond just the current BYOD needs. As part of this, Cisco is updating its wireless LAN infrastructure with the release of Cisco Unified Wireless Network Software 7.2, which includes:
    • Better Video: Up to double the video scalability compared to competitive solutions with Cisco VideoStream, which optimizes the network for multicast video so users can tune into company video events on the device and location of their choice. VideoStream also allows IT to prioritize video streams efficiently over the wired network. Video scalability is becoming increasingly important, especially when considering the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast that details how video will account for the majority of overall traffic, with business video conferencing alone increasing sixfold from 2010 to 2015.
    • More Devices: With this update, one controller can support up to 3,000 access points and 30,000 clients, allowing for a flexible, scalable wireless network that can support higher capacities while lowering operational costs.
    • IPv6 Support: Optimized IPv6 client support with full functionality, providing seamless roaming without drops, improved video and network communication and enhanced IPv6 security protection to close any security holes. Having full IPv6 client functionality is critical to a company’s BYOD strategy as 71 percent of smartphones and tablets – 1.6 billion in total – will be IPv6-capable by 2016, according to Cisco VNI.
    • Cisco Unified Wireless Network Software 7.2 is also available on controllers embedded in the Integrated Services Routers G2 and Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series Switches.
  • Simplified Operations and Network Management: Cisco offers simplified, centralized operations and network management to understand application performance from a user perspective, accelerate troubleshooting and lower operating costs. Today, Cisco is announcing innovations in the Cisco Prime™ portfolio, including:
    • Simple and Thorough Visibility: Prime Assurance Manager 1.1, a brand-new management platform, provides simple and thorough visibility into application performance across wired/wireless networks and end devices. This added visibility allows IT to understand and track the user’s application performance, quickly spot the exact location of an application performance problem, and correct it on the first try, saving time and money while increasing user satisfaction.
    • Complete Lifecycle Management: Prime Infrastructure 1.1 delivers a bundled package for complete lifecycle management across the wired/wireless infrastructure, with new branch management portfolios to control individual branch components. This package provides IT with one place for planning, deployment and on-going management of Cisco infrastructure.

    You can find out more by clicking here (Pricing/Availability/Quotes)

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  1. This last segment of the blog is supported with data from this survey– “Cisco® Connected World Technology Report found that more than 40 percent of college students and young employees said they would accept a lower-paying job…..” and the strength of this data is very subject to debate. Surveys and College graduate trends can be strong tools to lead us into the future but most people who need to work will say one thing but do another. “FUN” systems will not pay the rent but there is no dispute that employee satisfaction drives long term stability and productivity. Cisco will need to follow these trends closer than many companies since they have a large presence in the Valley. On the other hand, companies venturing into these waters in many parts of this global world better be sure they have tightened security and the enormous resources needed to control this BYOD trend. Controls, security and the cost of many platforms & software models may be a large drain for many smaller businesses. Most companies, even internet start-up businesses need to be sure they are in control of their data and systems before they add too many bell and whistles to their “FUN INDEX” at work.

    I believe we need to look at this problem in the same way we should be looking at the risk indexes of any business opportunity. We need a solid risk matrix that defines how we allocate resources towards meeting these BYOD objectives. We need to break down access to certain areas and systems connections based on the risks associated with the work area. Separate access points should be maintained for different business risks. In other words, keep all IP, financial data and key business data (Employee names, SS# & compensation data) out of harms way using core system security backed up by segregation of physical systems. This way we will not spend millions undoing a security disaster or a competitive IP breach.

    • Thanks for your insight Andrew – much appreciated. I can tell you that my own experience with the ‘millenniums’ as we seem to be calling them, is that they really do seem to value the technology tools to help them get the job done. There’s debate as to their motives – maybe facebook/IM availability at the same time as doing their day job is the incentive, I don’t know. It probably started with the baby boomers, but now work and play seem intertwined and connected. We all like working at home, but we probably work more hours than we used to because of that!

      I agree with your analysis concerning security – top of mind for Cisco and our customers – and a key differentiator in the market.

      Thanks for you comments – we value this kind of serious analysis.