The rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies has forced CSOs and IT executives to reconsider long-held notions about control over user devices and their access to information resources based on their identities. CSO spoke with Alan Abraham, Australia and New Zealand country manager at LANDesk, who believes an integrated user management environment offers the best way to manage the explosion of devices in today’s enterprise – and tomorrow’s.
CSO: Many say that user management has become so hard that it’s better to focus on securing data
than strengthening perimeter defences. What do you think of that?
The challenge is managing the multiple devices and disparate tools per user. A recent study conducted by Cisco estimated there would be 3.47 devices per person by 2015, growing to 6.58 devices per person in 2020.
With this in mind, we are seeing an increase in work/life integration and an effective consolidation approach is required to secure and manage the user and their devices. To this end, a total user management (TUM) solution – which integrates client management, user security and ITIL processes – is required for the user regardless of the number of devices they have or type of device. The drive today is towards user productivity, autonomy whilst providing a flexible and secure IT environment.
With adopting a secure approach like this, not only can an organisation increase the autonomy and morale of the user, but they can also minimise the number of vendors and contracts they have. Many of the relationships they currently manage are inflexible and do not support a useroriented approach.
CSO: What are the limitations of existing user management platforms?
Less than a decade ago, commoditisation was a major drive in the IT industry and organisations were starting to focus on driving down the cost of devices and increasing their foothold from corporate to end user. The challenge then has remained the challenge now; as the demand for IT and devices is rapidly growing the value is also rapidly diminishing. So how does an organisation get value or return on the asset?
With the success of this drive we saw a major shift from commoditisation to consumerisation and terms such as ‘BYOD’ started a user feeding frenzy that caused IT departments a new challenge in managing an ever-changing device in the hand of the user. The balance of power has now shifted in favour of the user.
IT departments saw a radical shift from need to want to must have as devices became more affordable, more accessible, more fashionable and more disposable. The solution to this is that IT departments must have a flexible approach to securing the user, and not be restricted by the platform or number of devices.
By having a secure TUM solution, an organisation can now become more competitive by attracting and retaining its talent whilst driving down vendor management costs.
CSO: How does this translate into security vulnerabilities?
The two main causes of security vulnerabilities that come to mind are:
• Consumerisation of IT. Technology is no longer a privilege; it’s now an expectation. Users are now
more vocal than ever in demanding how they will be productive, from the type of device they want to the type of OS and software they use. This can inevitably result in a highly fragmented and unmanageably diverse IT environment that is being driven by the user and not the organisation.
• Team Fragmentation. IT teams are increasingly finding themselves working against each other where the left hand does not know what the right is doing. This results in not only incomplete information and security processes being missed, but are being handled poorly if exploited.
CSO: What efforts is the industry making to improve user management?
Whilst the industry is driving towards an aggressive approach to mobile device management (MDM) tools and BYOD, in my opinion this is an incomplete and complex approach as the user is much more than their device(s).
The industry needs to focus and drive towards independence and user freedom. This is currently what the users are demanding and organisations need to be nimble enough to manage and deliver on these needs. A TUM solution provides an organisation with the flexibility to manage the user, whilst giving them the freedom to acquire and securely use their preferred devices.
CSO: How are user-management strategies affected by the shift towards cloud computing and
Cloud and mobile applications are receiving a huge focus at the moment and they should, to a certain extent. These new delivery platforms are but one of many ways a user can interact with business applications. A top down approach is needed, so that IT departments become agile and flexible,
regardless of the technology being used.
CSO: How should IT executives be planning their step up to improve their user management
One thing that has remained consistent throughout the years is that IT executives are required to do more with less whilst the demands are increasing at a rapid rate.
IT executives should now shift their focus towards vendor consolidation and aligning with vendors that have completeness of vision and product sets that addresses the TUM equation and not point solution vendors.
IT executives should consider their departments as a partner of their business and not a cost centre. With a user-dedicated approach the IT executive can now focus on what really matters: the people and the job they are trying to get done. A TUM approach will enable them to take control of their ever-increasing diverse user environments.
LANDesk specializes in Total User Management (TUM) and the partnership we develop with
our clients results in our high satisfaction and retention rates.
More information on LANDesk Total User Management (TUM) can be found in the online brochure