By Greg Keller Posted March 6, 2015
The promise of IT is to be everywhere. Ubiquitous. With more workers all over the globe and mobile, an organization’s IT infrastructure should always be able to reach these people. Further, it’s not all laptops anymore. IT needs to work in a number of different device and operating system environments. Yes, it is complex for IT to enable their workforce to work from anywhere and in any situation, but that’s the goal today.
There are four ingredients to building a ubiquitous IT environment:
The Internet has made it possible for everybody to stay connected worldwide. You can even stay connected when you are at 35,000 feet in an airplane. But being connected isn’t the same as being productive. IT organizations need to ensure that their applications are available via Internet and preferably available via a browser. This enables users to connect and leverage their employer’s applications regardless of device or location.
In addition to an organization’s internal applications, a whole ecosystem of SaaS-based applications are available. These can include solutions such as Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many others. If an organization can use SaaS-based applications, then by their nature they are available via the public Internet. For the technical parts of the organization that need to build or manage IT applications and infrastructure, leveraging Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers is valuable. These services are designed to be utilized remotely from anywhere in the world.
You can’t have ubiquitous without serving mobile users. These users are often on small form factor smart devices such as phones and tablets. While these systems obviously have browsers and are capable of doing work via the mobile web, building and leveraging applications that are native to the mobile device generally results in a better user experience. Third party applications that are utilized in the organization often will have native mobile clients, but many internal applications will not. Over time, to create a more usable experience, IT can create mobile applications when appropriate. There will be constraints, including small screen size, spotty connectivity, and low bandwidth, but in order for an organization to be truly ubiquitous it must reach mobile users.
Being available from anywhere in the world also means that hackers could potentially access these resources. Ubiquitous IT needs to be secure IT. That means building in security to the network and application layers. You’ll need to ensure that critical resources are behind firewalls and VPNs and only accessible to the right people. Further, applications should have core security features enabled such as SSL encryption. If your users are mobile, those devices can be potentially stolen or compromised. As a result, those devices should be encrypted. Embed security into IT strategy as early as possible to ensure that an IT infrastructure that can be available from anywhere is also secured everywhere.
One of the most critical components of ubiquitous IT is ensuring that a user’s identity is available throughout the infrastructure. Users don’t want to have different credentials for all of the services that they will need access to. Additionally, IT doesn’t want to have to manage a number of “mini” directories. Unfortunately, the standard legacy directories such as Microsoft Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™ are not easy to make ubiquitous. Identities need to be served up by a core directory service that can be available to all different types of services, providers, and platforms. JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® solution is the ideal solution to create ubiquitous directory services.
Learn More About Ubiquitous IT
The modern era of IT is turning out to be providing ubiquitous access to IT for all of an organization’s users. For end users, this means access to IT services regardless of location or device type. For IT, this means leveraging cloud infrastructure, mobile delivery strategies, high security, and a central identity system. The promise of ubiquitous IT is there, and many organizations are reaping the rewards of it. If you would like to learn more about what role JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® solution can play in your IT strategy, drop us a note. We’d be happy to spend some time with you on it. You can also try our cloud based directory for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.