Plug in 2014

Tags: Knowledge

Tech trends that will witness an uptick in the new year

Plug in 2014
Our workplace is going through a rapid transformation led by change in the way we work. Today “work” is no more a place we go to. It’s what we do whenever and where ever business needs to be done. Given the impact of globalisation, majority of workforce prefers a flexible working environment, which is not restricted within office premises and devices. The tech savvy millennial generation is actively driving the evolution of IT consumerisation at workplaces in India. In addition, widespread smartphone penetration in India, coupled with strong convergence between mobile and internet, provides enterprises a convenient medium for improving access to technology and mobility solutions to their customers, employees and contractors. As a result, mobility has become one of the key drivers for business transformation and growth and a topmost priority on the boardroom agenda. As we progress into the future, there will be a need to redefine the purview of mobility from ‘being restricted to devices and the security’ to a ‘more overarching vision of enabling employees to work from anywhere and thus mobilising all the aspects of business such as data, enterprise and native applications, collaboration and support that are required to fulfil this vision’. In this context we anticipate the following top technology trends in 2014.

Emergence of enterprise app store

Gartner predicts that by 2014, 60 per cent of corporate IT departments will deploy private enterprise app stores. Due to increasing penetration of mobile devices at workplace, the concept of an application store where a user can go for getting access to any application is becoming popular. This is an impact of “consumerisation of IT” where the users are expecting the capability, flexibility and power they get in a consumer world from the enterprises. This triggers organisations to set up app stores of their own, referred to as enterprise app store where an employee can go and get access to all the applications required to perform a business task/activity. Enterprise app stores can allow IT to help mobilise the workforce by providing a policy-based distribution for enterprise apps, legacy apps, Windows apps, browser/HTML 5 apps and native mobile apps and management of lifecycle of these apps.

Let there be containers

Allowing employees to have access to enterprise apps and data anytime, anywhere, using any device is certainly a pre-requisite for a comprehensive mobility policy. Today all the mobile devi­ces and operating systems seamlessly allow users to share information and data across multiple apps. For instance, the users can take a picture and seamlessly post it on Facebook or Twitter in a single click of a button. This flexibility is in the DNA of these mobile platforms but if extended to corporate data and enterprise applications will put many organisations at risk. Thus, security becomes the foremost challenge while adopting a mobility solution and it gets extremely difficult for enterprises to manage sensitive corporate data on personal devices, without gaining access to personal data residing on employee devices. To manage mobile apps and data on a user’s personal device, while simultaneously maintaining employee privacy, ‘containerisation of mobile apps’ is a technique that provides complete separation of corporate and personal data on a device. Containerised apps can be centrally managed and driven by tightening the security perimeter to the application layer.

Besides that, various enterprise policies can be enforced, that include preventing the user from taking screenshots, copying and pasting content, requiring the mobile device to be connected to a secure wireless network/denying access to content while connected via a cellular network, forcing authentication at every app launch, disabling cloud backup, disabling content being sent via SMS or native email for a secured application and disabling the camera. With more personal devices at the workplace and increasing adoption of BYO policy, organisations will need to adopt containerise apps while embracing a mobility policy.

Desktop virtualisation is here to stay

Companies are looking at shifting their IT spends more towards transformational projects than the business as usual projects. Customers today spend a large percentage of their IT budgets on infrastructure and hence customers are looking at transformational IT infrastructure initiatives to optimise these spends. Desktop virtualisation is one technology that has seen rapid growth in adoption in the last four years across industry segments. The primary reason behind this growth is that desktop virtualisation offers customers an opportunity to transform their IT infrastructure and increase employee productivity while improving the information security and optimising cost.

In the year ahead, more and more organisations will transition to the virtual desktop environment, replacing traditional desktop infrastructure and helping their employees become “mobile”. Desktop virtualisation will remain the most preferred technology for this transition and more companies will demand this to be delivered to them as a service rather than investing in the entire infrastructure. Indian IT services companies today are geared up to offer desktop as a service, which helps the end customer and eliminates the need for large Capex investments. Besides, it also gives them flexibility to extend this solution across the entire enterprise.

Tablets: new pill for enterprise users

With tablets purchases overtaking PC shipments, mobile devices are becoming the primary computing devices for many end users. These users are no more expecting basic common applications like secured email on these devices but they want the full functionality and access to all applications and data from these mobile devices and tablets. They want consistent user experience irrespective of whether they are using a company provided desktop/laptop or a tablet.

This empowerment of user to get access to complete “work” which is all the apps, data and collaboration capability is required to truly the leverage the power of this new computing device. Various technology solutions like application virtualisation, desktop virtualisation, MDM, MAM, cloud data and mobile support will have to converge to fulfil this vision and to empower the users to go completely mobile with their tablets.

Moving towards adequately secure cloud storage

As more organisations adopt mobility solutions and employees increasingly start using mobile devices to access enterprise data from any locations, data management becomes a daunting task for IT. In addition to that, a growing global workforce and the need to collaborate and share data with third parties, customers and partners add to this chaos and complexity. Users have increasingly turned to unsecure, consumer-style cloud services for access to their data and files across all of their devices, as well as the ability to share those files with others. Trends such as work-shifting and bring your own device (BYOD) are putting more pressure on IT, which is struggling to reconcile these forces with the need to protect intellectual property and comply with regulatory requirements. To help IT regain control over employee file sharing, more organisations will implement an enterprise-class, IT-managed file sharing solution, which offers IT the ability to control sensitive corporate data while meeting the mobility and collaboration needs of users.

Moving beyond MDM

While most mobility strategies started with mobile device management to address the device life-cycle needs of bring-your-own (BYO) or corporate-owned mobile devices, organisations are now expanding their plans to address mobile application lifecycle and mobile application performance.

Today, users are demanding the freedom to choose their own device; to use any app on any device without having to remember all of their credentials; and to access all of their documents and emails wherever they are. Organisations need an end-to-end solution that addresses these user requirements while also meeting IT’s security and management requirements around the user, device, apps and data. Until now, enterprises were forced to piece together point and a fragmentary approach to solve the mobility challenge. This trend is expected to change in the coming year.

(The writer is area vice president, India, Citrix)

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