Mobile Application Management (MAM)

IT admins may only just be getting their collective heads around bring your own device (BYOD) 1.0 but there’s no rest for the wicked – BYOD 2.0 is almost here.

Actually, it’s not as bad as it seems. From an IT point of view, BYOD 2.0 is a huge step forward from 1.0, and one that should convince organisations to embrace the idea of allowing employees to use their own smartphones, tablets and/or laptops for work purposes.

Before we dive into the details of what F5 is doing to help IT departments cope with BYOD, let’s take a brief look at why it has exploded over the last few years, and why IT departments may not be the biggest BYOD fans out there.

The benefits are well documented: Enabling employees to use a device of their own choosing means they are happier and more productive. A 2012 report by enterprise WiFi access firm iPass revealed that many employees are working up to an additional 20 hours per week, because of the BYOD policies put in place by their business.

Amazingly, 92% of these workers say they are happier with the longer working hours, probably because their device is one they are happy to use and they can do tasks like manage email in their own time, such when travelling home or during the evening. Workers are also able to do non-work tasks on the same device, making their life easier.

That, however, is the down side from an IT point of view. Allowing devices that are not fully controlled by IT to connect to the corporate network opens the business up to all sorts of potential issues from a security point of view as well as potentially flooding a corporate network with non-business traffic, which could affect network access for workers keen to get on with their job.

BYOD 1.0 policies focused heavily on mobile device management (MDM), which does exactly what it says on the tin by creating a VPN for the device, which secures the connection to the corporate network. That’s not ideal for IT or workers. IT departments have to go to the trouble of dealing with personal applications and traffic, while workers face the prospect of losing all their personal data if the company needs to wipe the device, which should happen when an employee leaves their job.

The ideal world is one where IT can concentrate on managing what is important: the applications and data that relate to the business. F5 Networks is leading the way in mobile application management (MAM). Essentially this replaces the device-specific VPN with one for the application, for example a single secure connection to the Microsoft Exchange, via BIG-IP APM AppTunnels.

Welcome to the world of BYOD 2.0.

The IT department is now in charge of which business apps are downloaded and can deal with updating and with removing all trace of sensitive data if the worker leaves the organisation – all without touching the personal applications and data on the device. It is a win-win situation for all concerned. Admins can push out policies globally or by individual device, meaning that the business can ensure workers only have access to exactly what they are supposed to. This reduces risk across the organisation.

For those requiring a more complete separation between the personal side of a mobile device and the business side, F5 has introduced MAM Workspace as part of the MAM portfolio. This enables organisations to sandbox all the business data within a virtual workspace, which is great from a security and compliance point of view.

F5 MAM also contains an enterprise app store and its own browser, making the business side of the device even more secure.

With Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android leading the way in the mobile space, along with the likes of BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Nokia, gone are the days of simple single system enterprise mobile rollouts. But F5 supports heterogeneous environments, giving admins the control they crave over the mobile fleet.

With F5 MAM we are putting security and control at the heart of every BYOD policy. We are giving control back to the enterprise, giving you the confidence to fully embrace BYOD and reap the benefits it can bring.

Published Feb 21, 2013
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