Medieval Sword

Mobile Computing is a Double-Edged Sword

Medieval SwordMobile computing has become an essential part of our daily lives for both personal and business use.

A vast number of employees are already using their own mobile devices at work, and mobile computing is quickly becoming a key strategy for virtually every organization. It’s easy to see why Facebook is capitalizing on its success by supporting its large number of mobile users. As a matter of fact, about 70% of Facebook’s 1 billion members access the site from their mobile devices, and today, mobile- related business represents nearly a quarter of the company’s revenue.

New technologies are making it easier for mobile computing in both the home and office. With converged Wi-Fi and cellular services for the enterprise, IT departments can switch the mobile device from the cellular network to the organization’s WiFi network based on the application the user is working with. T-Mobile is launching a new service in the United States that will allow cell phone users to seamlessly switch between T-mobile’s cellular network and the user’s home and office Wi-Fi networks.

Some vendors of network switches are offering solutions that provide transparent wireless connectivity that works across diverse networks. This provides IT administrators with the flexibility to support wireless users with a broad range of enterprise networks, from small to large, as well as support for enterprises with multiple branch offices.

When an enterprise allows employee-owned devices, it is able to save the money that would have been used to equip their employees with these devices.  Enterprises receive an additional benefit, as employees often get new technology faster than the organization might obtain it.  However, while these benefits can seem advantageous to both the enterprise and  employees, it is also the case that those who bring their own devices are causing IT organizations to spend more time and dollars to support them.

Due to enterprise security concerns, employees usually don’t have complete control over company-owned devices, as organizations need to ensure that their information is always secured. However, when employees bring their own devices into their place of business, they have complete control of them, thus raising obvious concerns about security and control.

To alleviate these security concerns, some organizations are having their mobile employees download VDI clients. Users connect to the data center using their mobile device as a dumb terminal on the company network. This places more control over data and applications into the hands of the IT department.

All this advanced technology is great for enabling mobile computing within the enterprise, but it also creates network problems for IT administrators. With the increasing growth of mobile computing, networks are required to support more traffic, while still delivering fast and reliable service.

The double-edged sword of mobile computing becomes a single force of advantage when coupled with the power WAN optimization yields for enterprises and users alike.  WAN optimization has been around for many years, and IT organizations are recognizing that these solutions help address the growing challenge of mobile computing. By relieving network congestion, providing greater bandwidth for diverse networks, and increasing deployment flexibility, WAN optimizers have now become a key business strategy for supporting mobile computing.

Image credit: Albion Europe ApS (flickr)

About the author
Marc Goodman