what’s your approach to enterprise mobility? Globally we have been and still are big RIM users. That was the corporate standard for a lot of the people who required mobile devices for their work and certainly our executives across the world. IT’s something that’s fine and continues to work well.
But, within the last two-two-and-a-half years it was obvious more and more CSC people were clamouring to get the same Blackberry experience on smartphones — Android devices but particularly the iPhone and increasingly the iPad as well.
We started looking around [for a way to do that] with pretty rudimentary stuff like ActiveSync, but it wasn’t what we were looking for. When you look at why Blackberry was the chosen provider for a lot of corporates – particularly American ones – was that it just ticked a lot of the boxes that the enterprise IT people wanted so they had some control over these devices: encryption, security, wipe clean, password authentication and all that stuff.
So, we looked for something that gave us as much as possible the same capabilities but on Androids and iPhones and that lead us to look at Good. We’re using it on about 5000 devices globally at the moment… and between 200-500 locally.
We allow employees the choice — they can either continues to use Blackberry or if they want to use their own devices they sign a policy agreement with us that lays out what their obligations are and what our obligations are with the use of that device and we then support it through Good.
What attracted us to Good was that globally we are big users of Lotus Notes and some of us use Exchange as well and out of the box the Good approach was to recreate the Blackberry experience with pushing out Lotus and Exchange emails, but in an encrypted way. [Good’s] approach is very much around containerising applications so rather than manage the whole device — this is an employees’ private device — it only manages those sanctioned corporate applications. For example, if a device is misplaced then you can set up protocols so that only those corporate applications are wiped.
It does it all through pseudo-virtualisation. In fact through Good Dynamics you can build your own apps which take advantage of that. We’re not doing it for ourselves yet — maybe for our customers — but it could be things like SalesForce automation, CRM-type applications and those sorts of things.
Can you detail CSC’s mobility policy and how it works? When you are in a bring your own device environment the company is no longer the owner of that device, so you then have to respect employee privacy as much as corporate security. There is also more responsibility by the employee: they should not expect CSC to manage all the problems on that device. We don’t own it, we didn’t buy it, it’s not selected from a pre-approved list — it is the employee’s own device and they have chosen to use a portion of it for business work.
There has to be a responsibility on the employee that they will conform to safe practices, and use the policies we provide for the use of corporate data, and will use the Good interface for accessing data as it is secure. If they have a problem with the device they will go to where they brought it from or some other community source for help. The policy we have lists all those sorts of things. Whereas, in the Blackberry world there is the assumption that it is company owned so the company will take care of it. That’s not the case in the BYOD world so you have to have clear polices and clear lines of responsibility in that area.
What are the big issues that come to mind when you think about mobility management? Most of these devices, frankly, don’t need a lot of support — that is one of the beauties of the consumer world. They have to be pretty cheap, pretty intuitive, and they just kind-of work. If they stop working most of the companies are pretty good about taking them back.
The main things to look out for are making sure that the employee isn’t introducing new risks to the enterprise —viruses, malware, hacking and so forth. You need to have more porous firewalls than you had he past — de-perimeterisation — which means you are not relying on physical, hard-coded hard-wired firewall. You have to be smarter about it through having polices and have security products which allow the employees to be productive, but in a secure way.
Now you have the end-user side sorted out what’s happening on the back-end to allow you to push out applications to employees? We are looking at quite a few [private cloud-like] things for ourselves and our customers as well. We have our own private cloud we use inside CSC. We are moving more of our internal systems to become more cloud-like and we are building a sort of enterprise apps store concept through ha service catalogue.
It is still early days, and our first priority was the BYOD thing we have made big strides on. IT’s also not the only BYOD initiative we have as we are also doing virtual desktops as well for people who have laptops as well — a whole other technology around VMware and Citrix. We have a whole lot of options for people depending on their role and the type of work they are doing. It’s two tiers. We’d have a couple hundred virtual desktops and that project has been running for about a year now.
Over the page: virtual desktops, app stores, collaboration and project management
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.