BYOD in a private cloud environment

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BYOD in a private

cloud environment

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B Y O D I N A P R IV A T E C L O U D E N V IR O N M E N T

BYOD in a private cloud

environment

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Cloud computing has become more than a buzz word. CIOs and IT man-agers are seeing a real opportunity to bring benefi ts previously unavailable to their organizations, including more fl exibility to meet end-user needs, while at the same time driving down IT costs amidst ever-tightening bud-gets. At the same time, and relatedly, they are facing a consumerization of IT and the potential benefi ts and challenges of implementing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) strategy in the cloud environment.

While in years past CIOs and IT managers were challenged to understand and defi ne cloud computing, that is beginning to change. A recent The State of Cloud Computing survey conducted by CIO Canada found that, while none of the 200 IT leader respondents felt they were experts on cloud, around 80 per cent1 felt either somewhat or very knowledgeable on

the subject, and that learning continues.

Still, cloud computing, especially when combined with the proliferation of mobile devices, also represents a potentially troubling opportunity for end users to circumvent IT. Studies by research group IDC suggest that while some organizations eschew BYOD practices due to cost and complexity, many recognize the coming tide are turning to client virtualization and cloud to overcome part of the management challenge of allowing non-standard devices on the enterprise2.

End users are increasingly becoming familiar with public cloud services in their personal lives. IT organizations that don’t keep up by delivering the type of service that end users have come to expect are setting themselves to be worked around. Because of this, it’s increasingly important that IT leaders become champions of cloud technology, especially private cloud, and be agile enough to understand the change management involved.

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CLOUD AND THE CANADIAN ENTERPRISE

Through cloud, CIOs have the opportunity to reposition IT as less of a cost centre and more of a value creator. But even considering that and with a greater understanding of cloud, moving to any new environment is never without a degree of risk and uncertainty.

The transformational gains to the IT organization from a move to cloud means relinquishing some control to a third party vendor. Are Canadians ready and willing to embrace this risk? Does the trust exist that is neces-sary to partner with cloud entrants, many of which are new to the market? Alternatively, are there properly experienced organizations to which Cana-dian enterprises can turn?

These represent legitimate concerns, and are why many organizations con-tinue to only test the waters around cloud. Some have investigated pub-lic cloud, but the more crucial and mission-critical the data or enterprise components, the greater reluctance to make that transition, especially on the multi-tenant infrastructure of public cloud. Still, interest is strengthening in cloud computing, in particular in private clouds and virtualization. In fact, 2012 is being seen by many as the year where Canadian companies— long witnesses to U.S. early adopters and a glut of cloud-related buzz and marketing—will start to get serious about cloud in their enterprises, either incrementally or aggressively.

Cautious Canadian natures continue to play out, though, and with good reason, given the lack of self-perceived expertise. In CIO Canada’s recent cloud survey trust continues to loom large in the minds of CIO and IT man-agers when related to public or private cloud implementations. Company track record ranked most important to IT leaders in evaluating public or pri-vate cloud service providers, even ahead of support capabilities. And while Canadians IT leaders still seem divided on cloud returns, they recognize it cannot be ignored. More than one quarter of CIO Canada respondents continue to see cloud as a place to experiment with non-critical workloads, even while similar numbers see it as a long-term strategy.

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or IT manager responsibilities, who are still responsible for issues of ser-vice-level management, records retention and business innovation as part of the CIO mandate.

Still, proving the business case for cloud often remains a signifi cant chal-lenge in many Canadian organizations. IT leaders must bring to bear all their experience to fully assess the technology budget needs, encourage consensus, and make the necessary informational changes to make a suc-cessful transition to the private cloud. The business case for private cloud rests on it delivering always-on IT services over a scalable, cost-effective architecture.

Since cloud allows organizations to effectively pay as IT capacity demands peak, cost is often seen as its primary justifi cation; however, the real busi-ness case is around enabling and driving new busibusi-ness opportunities and improving operational effi ciencies. A cloud computing scenario untethers data access from a particular device, empowering mobility and collabora-tion, allowing end users to be more productive.

SECURITY, CLOUD AND BYOD

Obviously security and privacy are the largest concerns when implement-ing cloud usimplement-ing a hosted service, especially with mission-critical or sensitive enterprise or customer data resting in cloud storage. Similarly end-user mobile devices can create even greater risk to exposure to threats; howev-er, it can be argued that the BYOD model can be more secure than provid-ing corporate devices.

Why? Because the work the goes into securing such a model. Rather than simply focusing attention on securing the network perimeter, as an organi-zation would do with corporate-owned devices, a BYOD model must focus on the base layer: centralized management around network confi guration and securing end-devices. Network fi rewalls must similarly incorporate a strong layer of protection.

It represents a dramatic shift in how IT departments look at security. In-stead of guarding against certain threats, IT must operate under the

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sumption that all devices are untrusted and practice effective security management to “lock down” traffi c between back-end and DMZ systems. According to Elaina Stergiades, Research Manager for IDC’s Hardware and Software Support Services program, consumerization of IT will continue to expand into new markets and segments despite challenges to provisioning, servicing, supporting and securing increasingly complex non-standard de-vices. Still, she adds that tools to provide corporate-liable are in their early stage that might not meet corporate IT guidelines. As a result, IDC recom-mends corporate IT departments looking at deploying a BYOD model over the next three to fi ve years:

∙ Create a detailed, comprehensive plan for the extended enterprise model, which includes specifi c policies and procedures for each phase (from device selection to ongoing support);

∙ Meet with business leaders to develop the overall strategy and ensure its long-term success;

∙ Consider standardizing security profi les across the user base regardless of device to simply confi guration and support while maintaining enterprise security;

∙ Have all policies describe the difference between corporate-liable and individual-liable devices, outlining what will and will not be supported3.

Unfortunately for IT leaders who might like to hide heads in the sand, the demand to support end-user mobile devices isn’t likely to go away any time soon. IDC Research suggests that while it’s too early to determine whether consumerization of IT will increase costs, many organizations recognize they are on the losing end of the battle to limit enterprise access to Win-dows PCs and corporate-issued smartphones4.

CONCLUSION

It’s a cloud-based world and organizations, in particular more mature ones that have already witnessed cycles of technology change, recognize that. Canadian organizations are beginning to understand that old ways simply will not work with today’s breakneck business speeds and relentless end-user demands.

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The benefi ts cannot be ignored. In a way, cloud provides businesses with the PC that doesn’t break. Mobility and collaboration bring fl exibility and business agility. Supporting the today’s competitive environment users must be able to access business resources on the go, which cloud affords. And with that, the idea of securing data in an offi ce guarded by a network of fi rewalls becomes obsolete.

Private cloud services can help manage a BYOD environment, and when properly secured provide even better risk mitigation than simply protecting the enterprise periphery. Still, the right cloud services partner, with a proven track record and security and support capabilities, is a necessity to move ahead and embrace all the benefi ts that cloud can bring.

ABOUT GIBRALTAR SOLUTIONS

Established in 1996, Gibraltar Solutions specializes in the design, inte-gration, and optimization of high-quality, enterprise-level IT infrastructure solution. We help commercial, industrial and government customers across Canada automate, streamline and manage their business processes to improve productivity, performance and profi tability.

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Gibraltar’s ongoing success is rooted in our commitment to creating a culture of integrity and respect with our custom-ers and our people. Among other achievements, we were ranked number 94 in Profi t 100 Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies for 2005, number 61 in 2006 and number 97 in 2007.

Gibraltar’s management team is made up of dedicated and experienced consultants and project managers who are committed to addressing cus-tomer needs. They work consistently to ensure our products and services meet or exceed expectations and deliver strong business results.

Gibraltar shows the same level of commitment to our employees. We pro-mote work-life balance through comprehensive benefi ts, social committee and social events, fl ex-work and fl ex-hours programs. This cultural founda-tion has translated into one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry.

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B Y O D I N A P R IV A T E C L O U D E N V IR O N M E N T FOOTNOTES

1. Shane Schick, “The State of Cloud Computing in Canada”, IT World Canada, Sept. 2011.

2. Ian Song and Al Gillen, “Consumerization of IT: An IDC Survey”, IDC, Apr. 2011.

3. Elaina Stergiades, IDC Link, “Support and the Consumerization of IT: Can Everybody Play Nice?”, IDC, Sept. 2011.

4. Ian Song and Al Gillen, “Consumerization of IT: An IDC Survey”, IDC, Apr. 2011.

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