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Published on August 23rd, 2013 | by Alexis Argent

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4Gon Discusses the Complexities of the BYOD Trend with Comms Business Magazine

Alexis Argent, founder and director of 4Gon Solutions, is featured in the September 2013 issue of Comms Business Magazine.

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Commenting in the ‘BYO – Problem?’ feature, Alexis spoke about potential security issues, keeping up with the trend and how resellers can help solve problems for businesses when it comes to BYOD.

BYOD is set to surge again this year as yet another range of devices hit the market. IT managers have been desperately trying to keep up with the trend in securing their networks and enabling workers to have maximum freedom on their devices in a secure environment.

I completely agree, BYOD will surge further, and the range of devices will continue to get bigger, for example, at 4Gon we are selling more and more access points in particular.

It’s also true IT managers have been trying to keep up and nearly all of them are now making security a priority – which it absolutely should be.”

Have IT departments caught up with the BYOD trend?

In the enterprise sector, yes, others not so much. Having said that, it’s an on-going challenge for everyone, much as you can try to lock everything down, it’s just the nature of wireless compared to cable, such as Cat 5 or fibre, that it can be tapped via the air. Wireless signals also go out of the building and into public space, making the company network potentially accessible from outside.

This is a relatively new problem, and the deployment of larger and larger networks will only mean more vulnerabilities.

Clearly, IT departments are installing wireless and allowing people to put their own devices on it, the issue is that it’s third party equipment of varying quality and security. As such, particularly at the enterprise level, businesses are looking at locking down devices via software on the device, or via software that locks down and monitors the network.”

Where are the opportunities for the channel to benefit from this?

Firstly, the sale of wireless access points, and secondly consulting services. The latter to secure wireless networks with the right hardware and the right software for staff devices.

I’d say Air Watch is the current leader in this space, but other providers and software are catching up fast, such as Lookout. Mobile security has been developing rapidly over the past five years, as people have realised the importance and value of supporting personal devices for enterprise deployment.”

Do the advantages of BYOD outweigh the disadvantages?

They totally outweigh them. Although it’s not really a case of weighing up the positives and negatives – BYOD is happening, so you need to deal with it. Ultimately BYOD adds another layer of complexity, and so it creates another problem which resellers can help businesses solve. Thus it should be seen as an advantage and an opportunity.

We’re at the point now where it’s expected. Looking ahead, you could argue everything is heading into the cloud anyway, where staff will ultimately just need a browser to access all company functionality, so it’s potentially not in a company’s long-term best interests to supply equipment, whether that’s a laptop, phone or tablet. This will become more likely as multi-platform solutions get better, and the drawbacks are further reduced.”

Where is the next wave of devices coming from?

Predominantly the same manufacturers as it does now, although the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google are the frontrunners, with the rest playing catch up. A recent IDC report predicted tablet sales would surpass notebooks and other portable PCs in 2013, and that by 2015, tablets will be outselling desktops and portable PCs combined.”

Visit Comms Business magazine to see these comments as originally featured in the September 2013 issue.

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