Cisco Canada Blog

Why a BYOD plan is more than just policy

October 10, 2012

This isn’t the first time we’ve delved into the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) movement on this blog and it certainly won’t be the last.

We have already discussed the many opportunities BYOD can offer partners; how Cisco’s line of collaboration tools can help boost productivity for users on mobile devices; the importance of an integrated and holistic network security solution; and how IT departments can simplify device management.

Now it’s time to take a deeper dive into the right IT architecture you’ll need to safely and securely deploy an enterprise-wide BYOD strategy.

While a BYOD project might be thought of as an IT-led project at most organizations, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. BYOD is an enterprise-wide project that will involve the data centre team, network team, application team, legal department, security and compliance operations and the HR department. All of these business units will run on your BYOD architecture, so you’ll need to ask yourself questions like:

*Do I have the right network bandwidth/capacity to deliver a reliable mobile workspace?
*How do I make sure only the right people have the right access to my network?
*Why do I need anything more than Mobile Device Management (MDM)?
*How do I efficiently onboard and provision devices?
*How do I grant different levels of access to protect my network?
*How do I enable employees to work together effectively regardless of what device decisions they make?

One of the concepts we’ve been stressing at Cisco as it relates to a successful BYOD initiative is the “scaled architecture strategy.”

The goal for your BYOD plan should be “any device, any ownership” for the end-user, and “full control” for the IT department. From your core network to the network edge, innovative BYOD enterprises should be working toward an architecture where employees use any device they want, while IT grants them full network access and the ability to use native apps on-the-go.

To achieve this, you need strong device management tools, an effective identity and policy management engine, comprehensive security and remote access measures and enterprise-grade collaboration applications. And at the core network, you need the switches, routers and LAN infrastructure to run it all.

It all boils down to building an infrastructure that enables you to trust the devices your employees bring to your network. Here’s the “trusted device” concept:

Architectural principles

*device security posture assurance
*user authentication and authorization
*secure storage of corporate data at rest
*application layer interoperability and consistent capability/experience across devices

Execution elements

*policy enforcement (local access control, device encryption, remote wipe and inventory tracking)
asset management (device registration, device identification, user audit trail and forensic capabilities)

Of course, this just scratches the surface of what you need to know to help improve your BYOD initiative. We have over 50,000 user-owned devices on our network and I encourage you to understand the impact, benefits and risks of BYOD for your entire organization as you wade into the waters of bring-your-own-device.

Do you have questions about BYOD and your business? Leave a comment below.

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