The “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device concept has been around for a little less than a decade. The movement started to gain steam roughly in 2007 and 8 when employees started to adopt true ‘smart’ phones, the Apple iPhone in particular, often supplanting their corporate issued Blackberry devices as they were markedly more progressive for both personal and work chores. Following that fairly large wake the iPhone made within organizations, Apple’s continued resurgence moved into supplanting Windows workstations, beginning with MacBooks and continuing to envelope more users with dedicated workstations, macOS Servers for light chores, and more. Steve Jobs and his predecessor Tim Cook would keep the movement of hardware in full swing.
Challenges with BYOD
Naturally, IT organizations initially resisted BYOD. IT admins argued that managing a number of different platforms increased their workload, reduced security, and caused compatibility issues between the devices and applications. IT admins weren’t wrong. BYOD meant that their once homogenous environment, anchored by installations of Active Directory and Windows servers and workstations, would turn into a heterogeneous environment, one they argued would continually increase the cost and effort required to manage their businesses.
But, the business end users persisted. It was becoming obvious that Apple was progressing technology extremely quickly, creating devices that had better form and function end users desired. Devices that worked well for them at work, on the road, and at home Simply put, end users wanted to be more productive using the tools that they liked. As device manufacturers made it easier to connect those devices to the network, IT savvy employees were connecting phones and devices to the corporate network anyway. iPhone users could bypass the BlackBerry Exchange Server plugin and tap directly into their corporate email server as one large example. As a result, to ensure they could maintain more control and security many IT organizations relented and built programs to support a variety of device types including iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. Macs and Linux machines became commonplace in the infrastructure.
Most IT organizations essentially came to terms with the reduced security and the increased operational overhead, with some organizations implementing mobile device management solutions to help control these different devices. Fast forward to current day and virtually all organizations are heterogeneous environments. When you add in mobile devices, it is hard to believe that an organization, most notably start-ups and organizations heavily invested in cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications to run their business, is anywhere near 50% Microsoft Windows. A new model to manage all of these different device types – specifically the Macs and Linux devices – is needed.
Solution for the BYOD Challenges
Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS) is aiding organizations in managing their BYOD programs. The benefit of Directory-as-a-Service is that Windows, Macs, and Linux devices are all made ‘equal’ and managed identically. These devices are authenticated to a highly secure cloud-based user directory enabling IT admins to remotely monitor and manage these devices. Organizations implementing DaaS only need to add a small agent to the devices they desired to be managed. These devices can be either physical or virtual, such as Linux or Windows Servers managed on AWS or Google’s Compute Engine. All devices and users can be centrally authenticated authorized and globally activated/deactivated to radically increasesecurity. Tasks can be executed on each device from a central Web-based console that can be accessed by admins from any location. Now, instead of being considered second-class citizens, Macs and Linux devices are controlled and managed just like Windows machines.
BYOD is here to stay and IT admins know this. For years, IT organizations have been searching for ways to integrate these disparate device types into the infrastructure. MDM solutions were a start for mobile devices. With Directory-as-a-Service, organizations can centrally control and manage all three major devices types from a SaaS-based service. Now that all platforms are managed similarly and at a high level, BYOD doesn’t need to mean less control and security anymore.
If you are struggling with how to improve your device control and management in a BYOD environment, drop us a note and we’d be happy to talk about how Directory-as-a-Service can help. Alternatively, sign-up for a free trial of our cloud-based directory, your first 10 users are free forever.