The consumerization of IT is well underway. Supporting secure remote access via what are traditionally “consumer” gadgets is a must.
In the days when Web 2.0 was forcing its way into IT along with the Millennials the warning went out to IT: either you adopt the technology or you’ll lose control because youngins’ are going to bring it with them whether you like it or not.
Since that time the “adopt or else” mantra has been one that IT has had to deal with regarding technology in general. cloud computing , consumer devices, social networking. IT has had to learn to incorporate and include these technologies in their overall support strategy whether planned or not. There are no signs such trends will slow. No place is that more evident than in the area of mobile devices.
Consider research firm Gartner and its predictions for 2011 and beyond for IT organizations:
By 2014, 90 percent of organizations will support corporate applications on personal devices.
The trend toward supporting corporate applications on employee-owned notebooks and smartphones is already under way in many organizations and will become commonplace within four years. The main driver for adoption of mobile devices will be employees — i.e., individuals who prefer to use private consumer smartphones or notebooks for business, rather than using old-style limited enterprise devices. IT is set to enter the next phase of the consumerization trend, in which the attention of users and IT organizations shifts from devices, infrastructure and applications to information and interaction with peers. This change in view will herald the start of the postconsumerization era.
By 2013, 80 percent of businesses will support a workforce using tablets.
The Apple iPad is the first of what promises to be a huge wave of media tablets focused largely on content consumption, and to some extent communications, rather than content creation, with fewer features and less processing power than traditional PCs and notebooks or pen-centric tablet PCs. Support requirements for media tablets will vary across and within enterprises depending on usage scenario. At minimum, in cases where employees are bringing their own devices for convenience, enterprises will have to offer appliance-level support with a limited level of network connectivity (which will likely include access to enterprise mail and calendaring) and help desk support for connectivity issues.
As the technology that connects us to the data center and to the applications upon which we rely on a daily basis to support the business – either directly or indirectly – continues to evolve so must vendors and providers evolve to support that technology. Apple’s successful tablets and smartphones continue to make their way both officially and unofficially into organizations everywhere and cannot be ignored as a method of access for both legitimate and illegitimate users.
Remote access via an iPad or iPhone is nice, but secure remote access via an iPad or iPhone is even nicer. That’s why F5 this week released a BIG-IP Edge Client for Apple iOS devices, supporting full SSL VPN mobile access (and all the associated IT control and security) to corporate web applications.
F5 BIG-IP Edge Client, in combination with customers’ existing Edge Gateway/BIG-IP Access Policy Manager or Firepass solutions, provides full SSL VPN access to internal web applications, file shares and other resources. Like the BIG-IP Edge Client applications for laptop platforms, Edge Client for iOS provides full layer three SSL VPN access and compression technology to improve user response times and experience.
That’s important because it’s often the case that applications were not developed and designed with a mobile form factor in mind and may be “heavier” than mobile connectivity can efficiently deliver. Leveraging acceleration technology along with security enabled by a unified application delivery platform provides a boost to application performance over mobile networks that will go a long way toward ensuring a move toward mobile device connectivity remaining as productive and efficient as access via its tethered predecessors.
F5 BIG-IP Edge Client is the second iOS release from F5, coming hot on the heels of the BIG IP Edge Portal app released in November. BIG-IP Edge Portal provides streamlined access to web applications, while BIG-IP Edge Client is a fully featured SSL VPN client for Apple mobile devices.