A visit to the discussions around Bring Your Own Device issues in the enterprise and how vendors are approaching this challenge.

You may recall at the end of May that IBM announced it was restricting the BYOD policy across its own enterprises. Well, today it has announced a new way enterprises can build an environment where it will be safe to implement the BYOD policy.


Let’s revisit IBM’s announcement in May first. In an article in the MIT Technology Review, Jeanette Horan, Big Blue’s Chief Information Officer, said that they were obliged to stop employees bringing their own devices into IBM plants because of the fact that some of the apps workers were using could create security problems.

In 2010, when the BYOD policy was initiated, apart from 40,000 Blackberrys that IBM gave out to its employees, everyone else was allowed to use their own devices, and that meant a lot of uncontrolled apps.

Two years later there’s a lot more apps and IBM decided that they posed too much of a security headache and decided last month to stamp it out.

While you can definitely see the point of this, it also meant that workers were restricted from using very useful apps like Dropbox as well as Apple's iCloud because of the general ban; instead, employees used an IBM-hosted version called MyMobileHub.

The fear, Horan said in the interview, is that internal, sensitive information will get loose and into the wild.

So in IBM you have a major problem of people looking to collaborate, or work when mobile, but who can’t because of enterprise restrictions. And there are many more companies in the same boat.

Virtual Desktop Solutions

But IBM has seen the market potential that this problem has created and has come up with IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure solutions which are designed to enable enterprises to manage desktops centrally, while users -- it doesn’t say how many, but does say a large number of users -- can access them from any location, or device, including personal computers, tablets, smart phones, laptops and thin clients.

According to IBM, the new offerings are designed for a large number of verticals, including the public sector and federal agencies, and supports what IBM describes as “the widest range of industry hardware, software and virtualization platforms.”

It doesn’t say what hardware exactly, but from a number of customer testimonials that it provides, the list appears to be quite comprehensive.

IBM did not build the solutions on its own however, but partnered with a number of companies to develop them. The solutions and partners include:

  • BM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business with Verde from Virtual Bridges: Provides end-to-end desktop management solution with different operating modes, including VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), integrated offline VDI -- for disconnected and mobile use -- and remote branch support.
  • Citrix XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-Box: A comprehensive desktop virtualization solution with multiple delivery models optimized for flexibility and cost-efficiency.
  • VMware View: VMware View simplifies desktop and application management while increasing security and control. Offers access to desktops from more devices and locations while giving IT greater policy control.

It seems like these solutions are available already. If you’re interested in more, check out the video below.