Filtered by category: Mobility

What’s lurking inside your IT upgrades?

You’ve updated, automated, streamlined and optimized your IT operations for efficiency, agility and competitive advantage. And although you’ve succeeded in transforming your data center for modern demands, you may have opened the door to key risks—risks that may mean you need to upgrade your enterprise cyber security programs as well.

Truthfully, enterprise security is not static. The threat landscape is expanding every bit as fast as innovation. A recent CNBC article found that there are approximately a half-million cyberattack attempts every minute. So what cybersecurity threats could be lurking inside your newly optimized enterprise?

1. Virtualization Vulnerabilities

If you converged your compute, network and storage assets with virtualization for cost savings and higher efficiency, congratulations. But did you know that the virtualization that drives convergence comes with some real-world risks? There are many different layers of hardware, software and services involved in this complex deployment—any of which can be points of vulnerability. For example, cybercriminals often target hypervisors for attack. In addition, weakness can exist wherever your physical and virtual components intersect.  Any time a virtual machine is added or a workload is moved, there’s a new opportunity for a security breach.

2. BYOD Breakdowns

If you’ve adopted a mobile strategy to keep your on-the-go employees connected and give them anytime, anywhere access to key business applications, then you face several sets of security threats. First, the need to protect your data in the event an employee device is lost or stolen is essential.  The mobile operating systems on employee-owned mobile devices also have become a target for hackers seeking unauthorized access to corporate data. Remote device hijacking and eavesdropping can put your enterprise at risk for data leaks as well.

3. IoT Exploits

Webcams. Vehicles. Sensors. Smartplugs. Network elements. Tablets. If you’ve got devices streaming data across your networks, then you need to safeguard those endpoints. While Gartner estimates that 2016 will be the year  we reach 6.8 billion connected devices, it’s also going to give rise to machine-to-machine attacks. With IoT driving more devices connected globally, there’s a big payoff to hackers who can compromise these connections. And the weakest link is often the consumerized devices that aren’t using the right security settings.

Products like Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) security solutions can streamline and simplify end-to-end security for compliance and peace of mind. Download the Solutions Brief to explore your options and learn how ConRes can protect your business with enterprise wide cybersecurity solutions using HPE technology.


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The next generation of smartphones, the newest tablets, the hottest marketing apps, an influx of new hires, employee movement—for an IT professional, managing the always-connected enterprise is a juggling act. How do you manage this digital transformation in the new era of connectivity?  First it is best to break it down:

Step 1: Assessment

You can’t come up with a viable connectivity solution until you’ve identified fully where the issues lie. Not only do you need to assess your current wired and wireless environment, it is important to consider what’s next. Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers in the workforce and, with that demographic shift, you’re no doubt experiencing a workplace transformation. GenMobile, as they are sometimes referred to, were figuratively born with another appendage—a smartphone and organization should account for this in their security and connections available to accommodate this shift.  According to Hewlett Packard Enterprise “When people interact with the connected world, they feed incredible synergies among humans, machines, software and our environments. But it’s the quality and efficiency of those interactions that affects your organization’s ability to be transformative and achieve the business outcomes needed to thrive in the idea economy.” Hence, your enterprise mobility infrastructure needs to account for not only the various devices that will attempt to access your corporate network, it needs to carefully consider who the people and the Internet of Things behind the devices, how they use their devices (company-issued, BYOD and guest access) and from where they’ll access the network (on premise, remote, cloud, branch office).

Step 2: Evaluation

Considerable investment goes into building your network infrastructure. You need to evaluate which enterprise mobility solution fits best, while at the same time making it more adaptable, future-ready and highly secure. For maximum agility to respond to the demands of the business, the ideal infrastructure is software-defined. Software-defined networking and policy management—software programmability—are key to enforcing secure mobility. A software-defined network gives IT managers the ability to adapt to the needs of the GenMobile workforce by understanding contextual information: where the user is, which applications are in use, and which devices are connecting (including devices that are part of IoT). Your network must be able to dynamically adapt to your users’ mobility demands by leveraging SDN capabilities.

Step 3: Solution

Prepare for the mobile-centric, Wi-Fi-fueled workforce that doesn’t compartmentalize work hours from personal time. A well-crafted, secure, flexible business environment will help your company attract the best talent and the most productivity from #GenMobile.

Having worked with our many clients on assessments and evaluations, we often come around to recommending Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager as an integral part of the access layer solution. Aruba, an HPE company, offers an advanced policy management platform that ranks as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Wired/WLAN access. Within this single platform, you can centrally enforce all aspects of access to your wired or Wi-Fi network including privileges based on user; device type, health and location; MDM attributes; and more.

Learn more about ConRes wired and wireless networks product solution.

For 50 years, ConRes has been helping companies find solutions to even the most complex IT challenges. We’ll help you avoid the chaos and control your mobile enterprise.

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As 2015 draws to a close, tech experts are looking to the future – and high on the list of talking points are Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends for 2016. But what are these innovations all about? How will they impact us and are they as important as they’re cracked up to be?

We’ll be looking at each of these much-trumpeted tech trends in turn to figure out just what kind of impact they’re likely to have over the coming year. In our last post, we analyzed the Device Mesh; today, we look at the second trend on the list: Ambient User Experience.

What is Ambient User Experience? 

Okay, let’s start with what “ambient” actually means: something that blends harmoniously into the environment around you, appearing to be a part of it, without directly demanding your attention. Think soft jazz playing in the background, shaping your mood without you really noticing why. Now imagine that rather than soft jazz, we’re talking about technology, applications, information. Stuff that keeps working away, ticking along in the background, responding to the data it collects automatically to shape your environment and your experience without you consciously interacting with it. That’s the Ambient User Experience.

What Does this Mean in Practice?

To be honest we’ve been heading in this direction for some time. Many of our apps already integrate with one another, collecting information to automate updates and streamline the user experience. Websites deploy complex algorithms to analyze our search histories, comparing this to big data insights in order to predict our next move with ever greater accuracy.

On a case-by-case basis, the smartest technologies are already able to analyze data on the immediate environment and adapt automatically in sophisticated ways too, whether it’s clothing that regulates our body temperature or cars that maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. These products might not have broken through the mainstream just yet, but the capability is there, waiting in the wings for its moment to shine.

What’s been missing from the equation until now, is a coherent way for our devices to do what individual apps already do: collect information from one other to shape the ambient user experience on our behalf. But that is slowly starting to change. And for companies to keep up, they’ll have to move away from seeking ways to push their app, device or branding to the foreground and instead think about the complete user experience – how to be convenient, streamlined, nigh-on invisible. In short, how to become ambient.

What Gartner Says:

“Designing mobile apps remains an important strategic focus for the enterprise. However, the leading edge of that design is focused on providing an experience that flows across and exploits different devices, including IoT sensors, common objects such as automobiles, or even factories. Designing these advanced experiences will be a major differentiator for independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises alike by 2018.”

What We Say:

In our last post, we talked about the “device mesh” – the ever-proliferating variety of sensors in our devices that is furiously collecting data all the time, and will soon start to share this directly with other devices, instead of funneling it back into company-specific silos. It’s easy to see how the device mesh and the ambient user experience will go hand in hand: as the technologies we use increasingly communicate with each other directly, they’ll be able to shape our user experience without our interference, or even awareness.

For individual brands, blending into the background rather than foregrounding your product is often counterintuitive – and that’s likely to make them resistant to fully embracing the device mesh. But in the digital space, the genie is out of the bottle. And it’s the growing willingness of app designers to anticipate this trend that will slowly drive other technologies and brand strategies in the same direction.

Ultimately, it’s all about synchronicity, about gathering contextual data, about getting smart enough to organize user’s lives without them really noticing it happening. And if that all sounds a bit like the plot of I, Robot, then… well, yeah. Let’s hope our devices don’t start developing consciousness any time soon!

This is the second in a 10-part series on top trends for 2016. In our next post, we’ll be talking about another hot new trend: 3D Printing Materials. See you there!

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As the first in our discussion of Gartner’s top 10 technology trends for 2015, we look at the impact of mobile computing and networked devices on the IT department and how the user experience will require time and resources from your department.

As the number of mobile devices increases in both number and variation, they spread into increasingly diverse contexts and environments. Phones, wearable devices, consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public will form a new expanded computing environment. IT environments will have to adapt to the needs of the mobile user even as they lose control of user endpoint devices. According to Gartner, IT departments will have to:

Manage for Mobile

IT departments will have to expand security procedures and bandwidth to cover these new devices. It will no longer be enough to focus on the device itself. The context it is being used in as well the knowledge of the user will challenge IT departments to secure their computing environment and continue to provide the flexibility and mobility demanded from their work force.

Pay attention to user experience

As new devices grow, the emphasis will be on bringing a positive experience to each user touch point. On each device, user expectations and needs differ. With phones, users expect less functionality but more speed. Also, design should accommodate smaller screens. Being able to accommodate a multitude of environments will be increasingly important.

Now, it’s your turn.

How is your organization dealing with the growing multitude of devices? Are some devices deemed allowable while others are not? Are some departments or management levels given favored status, while others are denied access to mobile devises? And what are you doing to protect your IT environment while serving user needs?

Next Up: #2 #3

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There’s no doubt that “bring your own device” (BYOD) is a fast growing global phenomenon, driven by employee demands to use the devices, applications, and cloud services they prefer. BYOD promises tantalizing benefits such as better work-life balance, greater innovation, and improved productivity. Yet some fear that security risks and the complexity of managing so many different personal devices might outweigh the benefits.

It’s all about implementation.

Research from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group show that not only do companies experience significant value by embracing BYOD today, there is potential for much added benefit.

An astounding 89 percent of organizations allow their workers to bring their own devices for work. As a result, they are beginning to understand what is needed for successful BYOD, such as secure access, simple authentication, and clear mobility policies. But this is just the starting point. There is a more strategic approach to BYOD that yields even more benefits, from cost savings and productivity gains to critical time efficiencies.It’s all about implementation.

Our vigorous financial analysis of BYOD was conducted across six countries– Brazil, China, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We found that companies in all of these countries are deriving significant value from BYOD today:

  • BYOD employees are gaining a global average of 37 minutes of productive time per week. But just as implementation practices vary from country to country, so do benefits.
  • The time savings range from 81 minutes per week in the United States to just 4 minutes per week in Germany, where BYOD is viewed more skeptically.
  • On average, the current median level of BYOD implementation– what we call “Basic BYOD”– generates$350 of value each year per mobile employee.
  • BYOD will continue to grow, with the number of BYOD devices in the countries surveyed expected to more than double, from 198 million in 2013 to 405 million by 2016.
  • Smartphones are the overwhelming choice of BYOD employees, who own an average of 1.7 devices for work and have paid $965 in out-of-pocket costs for them.

Not only did we measure the effectiveness and maturity of current BYOD practices, we also wanted to place a value on an ideal BYOD implementation– a concept we call “Comprehensive BYOD”– to see whether a more strategic approach would yield greater benefits. We found that few companies come close to the comprehensive capabilities we outlined. In fact, the average company today is only about 21 percent along the “value journey” to Comprehensive BYOD.

Big Gains, No Matter Where You Start: Annual Value per Mobile Employee for Basic and Comprehensive BYOD Programs.

Regardless of the starting point, we found that moving from Basic to Comprehensive BYOD has the potential to unleash much greater value:

  • BYOD gains skyrocket in a Comprehensive BYOD environment, to $1,650 in annual value per mobile employee. With current implementations, companies are leaving $1,300 per mobile employee on the table!
  • U.S. companies have even more to gain, with value per mobile employee increasing to $3,150 annually, from $950 per year under Basic BYOD.
  • In addition to fostering employee-led innovation, 17 percent of the productivity gains of Comprehensive BYOD come from improved collaboration by mobile employees.
  • Apart from productivity gains, Comprehensive BYOD can pay for itself in hard cost savings– primarily in hardware, support, and telecommunications costs.

Contact the Cisco Team at ConRes for more information!


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