Increased Security in the Cloud: What it Means for Business

Over the last several years, cloud services have become a viable solution for businesses wanting to innovate and transform operations. The much-discussed benefits of continuous availability, low maintenance, and increased scalability have caused the cloud to grow almost 300% over the past 6 years. However, as the cloud continues to expand, hesitations revolving around the issue of security linger—security is still cited as a leading inhibitor to cloud adoption.

We find that few disagree that cloud computing is a way of the future. However, we do sympathize with those who are still hesitant to making the switch—after all, making the transition to cloud storage can be a big decision for many businesses, especially when safety is a primary concern. In order to clear the name of cloud computing security, we have listed four concepts that prove cloud security is safer than ever.Cloud Computing Security Tips

1) Cloud providers have security expertise. 

Not to sing our own praises, but cloud storage is our passion—and something we take very seriously. In general, cloud providers offer a wide range of managed security services that utilize the latest technology. Our industry’s success is based on our ability to keep customers’ data secure. And keeping your stuff safe is our guarantee.

2) High security standards must be followed. 

Because of strict standards established by the Higher International Organization for Standardization (ISO), cloud security is extremely high. As aforementioned, cloud computing is a multibillion-dollar business, and business is based on keeping customers’ data secure. ISO standards are designed to ensure just that.

3) Human error is reduced.

It’s no secret that people make mistakes. Even the most meticulous workers forget, misplace, and overlook hardware and data. However, computers don’t make mistakes—nor do they have bad days. This overlooked concept translates to superior security in the cloud. In the past, if a worker misplaced or even lost a computer or thumb drive, a company was at risk of losing vital data. With cloud storage, your data can be safely accessed anywhere, even if that same forgetful worker misplaces his or her laptop.

4) More is, indeed, better.

Building off the idea of limited hardware, if you only have one something (be it a laptop, a desktop, or a smartphone), that one piece of equipment is at risk of getting lost or broken. This translates to data: if you only have one way to back up your data, what happens if that method falters? Cloud computing protects your data by utilizing many methods of storage.

While we aren’t here to say that cloud computing is entirely free of security risks, we do guarantee that with the right team and expertise to back your operations, your data is safer than before. If you’re resisting the transition to cloud computing because of security reasons, you should reevaluate the benefits and contact us.


Moving or expanding your company office can be a source of tremendous stress and upheaval — but it also offers an opportunity to upgrade and improve a variety of office features, including your telecommunications system.

Many businesses find that they have outgrown their phone system long before they outgrow their office space. When planning a move to a new or expanded office, it is important to examine all aspects of your telecommunications needs — number and location of phones, voice mail, structured cabling, voice and data integration — to ensure that your new system responds favorably to your present needs, and will be able to expand to accommodate future growth.

There are a number of vital considerations to help you plan effectively for a phone system relocation or expansion with the most important being — selecting the right partner to guide you through the process. By choosing a leading telecommunications provider your company can turn a stressful situation into an easy transition eliminating any interruption to your business. However, selecting an inexperienced partner will cost your organization time, money, and possibly some of your customers.

The following check list will help you through the relocation or expansion process so you can make sure you’ve identified the right company to keep your phones ringing with no interruption in service:

• Select A Telecommunications Provider With Experience, and Rely On Their Expertise. You should elect to work with a provider that has expertise at the installation, expansion and relocation of corporate phone systems. Does the provider design and install communications systems using the latest technology, including the integration of your office computers with your phone system. In addition to installing your phone system, will the provider consult with you on how your business can maximize your communications effectiveness?

• Communicate Your Expectations. Ask your communications provider to assist you in thinking your plans through on paper first, ensuring that the proper phone configuration is agreed upon prior to installation. Make sure that the provider will work with you to effectively implement any needed changes to your existing system, including adding voice mail or upgrading the phone switch. Be sure to obtain an accurate indication of the time requirements needed to make changes to your system.

• Design Now and Save Later. An experienced telecommunications partner will take the time to review your facility and electrical drawings, which will aide in developing a game plan. They should provide you with design input, space planning and a communications layout for your facilities’ entire structured cabling infrastructure. This should include drawings of specific technical components such as the equipment room, telephone system, voice mail, server configurations, overhead paging and music, wireless IP, and Internet access.

The key is making sure your provider builds a compact, easy-to-manage, centralized equipment room, which acts as the hub for your business. Ideally, you should receive a design that is flexible and one that can expand as your business grows. Poor designs will cost you every time you call your provider when you need to make even a minor change to your system.

Properly designed and implemented in the blueprint stage saves having to retrofit and issue change orders later, which can be extremely costly. Leading companies do not charge for consultative services or design input. This is something to think about as you select a partner.

• Set A Realistic Move Date. If you want to eliminate headaches give yourself considerable time to plan ahead prior to your move or expansion date. Unexpected events almost always cause delays, and your business will function more smoothly if your move occurs when everyone is ready, instead of in the midst of a last-minute “scramble.” You should work closely with a telecommunications systems provider to help you set a realistic schedule for your phone system implementation. This will allow you to alert your customers and vendors of any anticipated phone number changes well in advance of your move date.

• Prevent an Interruption in Service.For many businesses, the early installation of phone lines, Internet access and new equipment may be critical to having dual service and to providing your customers with uninterrupted service during the entire move. If your provider waits until the last minute to switchover and does not have a plan to provide redundant service then you know something is wrong. An interruption in service can have a lasting impact on any organization.

• Don’t Let Anything Fall Through the Cracks.You should contact your communications system provider and give them advanced notice prior to your move to schedule a complete analysis of your present and future phone needs. Due to the highly competitive nature of local, long-distance, and Internet service, this additional “shopping” time can result in substantial savings. A reliable partner will walk you through this process identifying areas to save money, especially if you find yourself pressed for time.

Finally, make sure you redirect all of your local, toll-free, and fax numbers. Order this work to be done far in advance of your move, because it is vital that this important service be fully operational on Day One in your new facility.

Selecting the right telecommunications partner can make a world of difference when taking on the challenge of relocation or expanding your current facility. Choose an experienced provider that can set up a game plan for you and give you a sense of security that the transition will be a success. Leading providers will eliminate any unforeseen headaches and make what could be seen as a daunting task an easy one. If you don’t, your business could ultimately be in big trouble.

Understanding the Power of SIP Trunking and How to Harness It to Take Your Business to the Next Level

How can a communications protocol elevate your business? Consider the impact of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications and its ability to lower costs and offer powerful new business applications.  These two benefits alone are accelerating the adoption of IP based technology, also known as the convergence of voice and data, on a global level regardless of the size of company.   Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) raises the bar of IP by adding intelligence to business processes and providing both users and IT departments with greater control over their communications.

SIP is an IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), internet-based protocol originally designed for call set-up and control.  According to the SIP RFC, the protocol defines how two or more end-points can negotiate to set up and control a communications connection that suits the capabilities of the devices and the needs of its users.  In simple terms, SIP supports any form of real-time communication regardless of whether the content is voice, video, instant messaging, or a collaboration application.  Additionally, SIP enables users to inform others of their status, their availability, and how they can be contacted before a communication is even initiated.

Many companies have made the transition to VoIP; however, most are only using it for communication on the LAN.  In this scenario VoIP is only being used as a one-to-one replacement for traditional telephony.  These businesses realize a sound return on investment by lowering administrative costs as well as costs associated with calls made within the company.  SIP trunking, on the other hand, provides a greater return because it takes VoIP a step further.  For instance, full potential for IP communications can be realized only when communication is taken outside of an organization’s LAN.  SIP trunks thus eliminate the need for local PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) gateways, costly BRIs (Basic Rate Interfaces) or PRIs (Primary Rate Interfaces).  Furthermore, it directly operates with existing IP PBXs so there is no need for additional hardware.
SIP trunking also offers a number of unique features that have a direct correlation on improving a company’s productivity.  These features include

  • Enhanced 911 Service
  • Disaster Recovery
  • 411 Directory Assistance
  • Interactive User Portal for setup and MAC’s
  • Multiple Location Interoperability
  • Long Distance Bundles available as well as A La Carte as needed
  • 800 Number


Essentially, SIP makes employees more productive, business processes more efficient, and customers more satisfied.  In today’s business world there are many communication channels, but with little or no integration between them.  This presents a guessing game for users and a problem for management.  SIP transforms communications into a single integrated tool determining how calls are handled and the manner in which they are routed.  Communication is the lifeline of every company and SIP gives users complete control.  As a result, SIP trunking has the ability to increase profitability and give businesses a competitive advantage in their marketplace.


Practical On Moving Your Office

When it comes to managing a small business in the process of expanding, moving is certainly an action that will need to be taken from time to time. The office a firm begins in, when that business is successful, will rarely be large enough throughout the years of increased traffic, demand, client volumes and more, and shifting the entire framework to a new building can be a serious stressor, especially for entrepreneurs who have never gone through the process before.

However, by following certain best practices and making sure that all of the aspects of the move are planned out ahead of the scheduled start date, this can be a relatively straight forward and stress-free activity.

Here is a comprehensive list of standard considerations that every small business owner should remember before making the big move to a new office:

Time Line: Makesure that you have a workable timeline with everyone.  Coordination through communication should be your mantra. You need to make sure that your phones, Internet access and equipment are ready and waiting to be connected well in advance. I can’t tell you how many times we receive a call- “We just moved into a new space and we need to hook up our phones now!” . To what? Did you order services? Do you have connectivity? Don’t wait until the last moment!

Money: Budget is a major factor in any move, and the first step in planning is to evaluate how much money can be spent on the project. Transportation, professional assistance, new setups, office adjustments and many more aspects should be considered. As many entrepreneurs already know, the move has to be done in such a way that minimizes the overall expenditure, as failure to be extremely diligent with budget allocation can spell disaster down the road.

Exit plans: Before making it into the new environment, small business owners should ensure that all of the items they wish to be moved are taken into account. Equipment, desks and other furniture, office supplies, kitchenware, modems, computers, decorations and lighting fixtures are just some of the items that might need to be safely relocated.

Carry or replace: While composing the exit plan, entrepreneurs should compare the costs of moving certain items to the expenditures that would be necessary to replace them in the new facility. For example, a large sofa might cost far more to move across the country than simply buying a new one locally in the next location, and this type of thinking can add to the cost-efficiency of the overall project.

Entry plans: Who will be waiting at the new location for the movers? When will the various persons tasked with moving new items in be arriving? How will any reconstruction or building processes be taking place? These questions should be answered before the move begins, and entrepreneurs should always ensure trusted members of staff are acting as the leaders throughout the exit and entry procedures.

Delegate: Although this is not necessarily a bad problem, the average small business owner – especially when new to entrepreneurship – tends to be less proficient at delegating tasks. This cannot happen when relocating, as it will simply lead to too much stress placed on leadership. Every employee should be involved in the move, and setting up a comprehensive list of tasks and placing certain responsibilities on various staff members can have a positive impact on the overall success of the relocation.

In today’s highly technology-dependent marketplace, business owners must ensure that they are covering all of the IT needs associated with the move as well. Here are several considerations:

Ready to go: Once the physical move is completed, the speed with which employees can get back to their normal jobs is critical. Having all of the communications and technology capabilities set up in the new location before the first full day of work will maximize productivity.

Ask for help: Setting up an office IT and communications frameworks is difficult enough. Moving that entire set-up to another location can be complex and potentially impossible without the right expertise. Entrepreneurs should not hesitate to ask their chosen service provider to take care of the IT and communications side of the relocation.

Insurance: Make sure that you contact the office of the building that you are moving to and get a copy of their insurance requirements. Make sure that all of your vendors  file their certificates of insurance with the landlord per the requirements. Make sure that you have copies of their insurance on file.

Occupancy License: Check with the local city government for your occupancy permit. Make sure that you have paid all of the license taxes and fees.

Cancellation of utilities at your previous location: Make sure that you cancel any services at your previous location! You are still liable for them even if you are not using them! Phone, electric, Internet, gas – just to name a few.



Mindfulness , Adaptive Leadership and The Cloud

Attending the recent Cloud Partners Conference here in Chicago was truly amazing. I had some observations that I think the Channel – specifically, my clients who are managing technology would appreciate.

First thing that I noticed, sitting around the Advisory Board meeting was that a lot of us have shaved heads. This brought me into the realm of thinking about Buddhist monks. This led me to thinking about “mindfulness”. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware about what is happening within ourselves and to pay full attention to what is happening around us, non-judgmentally. It is the attention that emerges from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment.

As I listened to the opening remarks, about the transformation that our business model is going through with virtualization and companies that are “born in the cloud”, I began to look at my business and how it has transformed over the past twenty years.  Mindfulness of what is happening within- and in this case, within my company.  How will we make the transition? What skills do we need to acquire? What talent do we need to attract?

Leadership has to be adaptive. It has to grow in response to challenges and opportunities.  Adaptive leadership has to be dynamic- it requires focus and activity to result in a changed environment. As a leader, I have to have a sense of where we are at and adapt to these challenges in our channel environment.

As I met with the vendors, I had a renewed openness to find out what they were offering. Along with my staff, we went through the Expo hall and asked basic questions- “What do you do? Who is your target client? How can we work together?”  Afterwards, we met and reviewed the meetings we had with different providers.  This wasn’t a technical exercise- trying to solve problems with whatever is at hand.  Being adaptive, we need to create an environment that promotes a framework for healthy conversations about our strengths and weaknesses. Which vendors will be part of our offering is a dynamic question. It will change as will our evaluation of ourselves, our developing strengths and the new challenges of the cloud.

Football Basics and Business IT: It’s all in the Fundamentals

I was watching the news last night with “She who Must Be Obeyed” (a.k.a  my wife, Polly). During the sports segment, football came on. I began to think about my high school football coach. He and I didn’t get along. However, he did instill in me the elements of a successful football strategy. It can be applied to business IT very easily

  1. Block and Tackle- your safety depends on it.
  2. Have an Executable Plan and Stick to it.
  3. Don’t get Juked

Like they say, “Everything else is commentary, go learn it!”.

Security: Blocking and Tackling

While there’s no such thing as an IT environment that is 100 percent secure, taking fundamental steps to assess and  harden IT systems is the basic “blocking and tackling” of IT security that removes the root cause of the vast majority of breaches. These steps include:

» Assess and inventory configurations on all servers and devices, and compare the results to some under-stood, recognized security standard (like CIS, NIST, or ISO 27001)

» Gain immediate, real-time insight into any changes to the files, configurations items and states that define this security standard

Blocking and tackling for security professionals means going back to basics and eliminating the “easy ins” preyed on by attackers, like open ports and unused services, the use of default or easily guessed administrator passwords, or improperly configured firewalls.

Blocking and tackling for IT security teams also means keeping continuous watch on these systems, to detect the clues that indicate attacks in progress, like security controls disabled by anti-forensic activities, oddly elevated permissions or unexpected changes to critical files.

Security configuration management solutions are built to make these issues visible to IT security professionals, and to give them the information and tools they need to manage them in the most automated way possible.

Software as a Service (SaaS): Have a Executable Plan that incorporates the 5 Elements of Success

The value of SaaS applications depends on a very short time to results.

Principle #1: Integrate Quickly

Business leaders are adopting SaaS applications because the functionalities provided are immediately available, and the learning curve is usually quite short. However, users need relevant data before they can get full value from the software, and any event captured in the application has to be reflected in other systems.

Principle #2: Ensure Real-Time Data

Synchronizing data irregularly will introduce a latency that could impact your customer relationships or decrease your efficiency. Without real-time data, your people and systems will not have the current business context.

Principle #3: Control Costs

When you integrate SaaS applications, which is necessary for them to deliver value, your teams must propose an integration method that preserves the SaaS cost advantage a minimum upfront investment with costs determined by usage.

Principle #4: Integrate More and Faster

Should you plan to integrate a few applications that you won’t expect to change or constantly integrate new ones? For the answer, look at the trends. SaaS applications will offer broad palettes of functions that can be easily leveraged. Because most SaaS functionalities are standard (not custom), differentiation will come from combining applications.

Principle #5: Build Mature Integration Capabilities

Leveraging integration platform templates will help turn your entire organization into a flexible cloud where even small operations can easily and rapidly access your corporate business functionalities just as they would SaaS applications.


BYOD: Don’t get Juked (a.k.a. Don’t Fall for Fake Tactics)

All of the major wireless carriers are coming out with programs that allow users to get an annual upgrade on their smart phones. If you are a smart phone manufacturer, that is good news. If you administer your company’s devices, it’s a nightmare- both costly and in terms of your network security. With all of the churn and burn in the wireless industry, you need to have a relationship with the corporate side of the carriers. Make sure that you have a dedicated business partner at the carrier who you know and can offer you the best solutions for your needs.

Recently, our carrier sold the client base to Sprint. When we went to Sprint for a new deal, they came back with a hefty proposal. We repeated the steps with all of the major carriers. Eventually, T-Mobile and our contact Keith Mercado, came to the rescue with a program that was actually half of what we were spending previously. By the way, we all got new phones.  Had we gone with the new JUMP program from T Mobile, we actually would have increased our monthly spend many times over.

Want to know more? Click Here!

Security Alert: Scammers are holding your phones hostage for ransom

I recently read an article in the Chicago Tribune that was actually reprinted from the  LA Times (,0,5710787.story). It described a nightmare similar to what some of our clients have gone through at different times over the past year.

Here is the scenario: all of a sudden (literally) all of their phone lines are taken over by a caller who is posing as a debt collection agency trying to collect on a delinquent account for an “employee”. In none of the cases was the named employee a current employee of my clients. All of the phone lines (in some cases they were SIP trunks, in other cases plain ordinary telephone lines and in two cases they were PRI running over a T1’s for a total of 46 channels) were taken over so that no calls could be received or made. The caller wanted to collect $500 or more dollars immediately. The business could pay- and then they would release the lines. In other cases, IP sets were “spoofed” and the hackers made hundreds of dollars in fraudlent calls that were billed to clients.

Can you imagine how frustrating that is? My clients were enraged. The local police were called – and were not able to do anything about the situation. The FBI Cyber Crimes unit was called – but they could do nothing about it. In each of the cases, other legitimate business numbers were faked (a.k.a “spoofed”) as the calling party.

In each of the cases,  we had to involve the carrier. Out of all of the carriers, SNET reacted the fastest. CBeyond was the most responsive with follow up. With SNET  in about 5 minutes, the nuisance calls were blocked and service was restored. In the other cases, the denial of service took over for a couple of hours. Denial of service attacks ( when hackers install programs on unprotected computers and overwhelm targeted servers) are common in the IP world. It’s a type of attack that is getting more common in the voice world as more companies adopt IP telephony (such as SIP trunks and converged circuits).

There are a few ways to protect yourself.

  1. First and foremost, either install your own Session Border Controller or make sure that your provider has an enterprise level session border controller installed on your circuits.
  2. Make sure that you know how to escalate your case through your carrier.
  3. Ensure that you have their emergency numbers on your cell phone and that you know your account information.
  4. Make sure that you have multiple authorized representatives on the account who can open and escalate trouble tickets.
  5. Know your vendors!  Emergency phone numbers, contact names and emails.
  6. If you are running your own IP equipment, make sure that it is in Stealth DMZ,  behind a firewall, that default passwords were changed and no one (even the most VIP) uses easy passwords.

In addition, the only way that this will be acted on is through involving law enforcement. The FBI Cyber Crimes unit should be notified and the incident should be reported. Helping them will give them necessary information in catching culprits. If you are an IT professional, join INFRAGARD which is a strategic partnership between the Bureau and IT professionals.


Prime is Coming out of the (Phone) Closet- Cloud Computing, Cloud Phones, Cloud Business Management

We went to a seminar this past week. We followed up with some pretty intensive vendor training from our partners- and there will be more on their offerings in the coming weeks. We learned a lot- and would love to share it with you.

Here are some reasons to give serious consideration to cloud-based business services.


The “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement is rapidly altering the business landscape. Employees want to use the power and convenience of their smartphones to access data, sales reports, and other tools to enhance efficiency. Likewise, enterprises appreciate what improved productivity generated by the BYOD movement can do for the bottom line.

Immunity From Disaster

Another major benefit of the cloud is disaster management. Cloud-based communications systems include automatic redundancy. Voice, data, and all digital information are typically routed to multiple data centers. The days of a business losing business hour-by-hour when its phone system goes down is a thing of the past. Fires, super storms, equipment failures, and even cyber-attacks are no match for the built-in redundancy of IP-based telecommunications.

Those that had embraced VoIP phones and cloud-based computing on the East Coast prior to Superstorm Sandy were often able to continue operations when others with traditional systems were down for days.

Business Management “To Go”

For business managers and executives, cloud-based operations allow them to, in fact, be “two places at once.” One can head out to an impromptu but vital sales call without worrying about what will be missed while you’re gone. The advantages of a fully integrated system go well beyond the mere ability to stay in touch via smartphones. Full, seamless integration of all company operations is possible in the cloud, and it can be done securely.

OfficeSuite is one such platform that can integrate your office phones, mobile devices, and data networks into a single system. Over 100,000 business professionals nationwide already enjoy the ease and efficiency of cloud-based communications and business management. Companies like Broadview Networks has already helped many clients to realize productivity gains through OfficeSuite’s business phone systems.

No longer want to be tethered to your office phone? Move your operations to the cloud and you will feel liberated as you can conduct essential business from anywhere at any time – and on any device.


Phones that work over the Internet can be set up without the need for telephone installers at your premises. Better yet, as soon as you add staff or new locations, the system is readily scalable. Grow as you need to without having to spend precious capital for new equipment. As you grow, simply add new licenses for your new employees and set them up on the system in minutes.

The number of businesses around the world that will be using Internet-based phone systems is expected to double in 2013, to over 100 million. There’s a reason for this communications revolution, so see how your productivity can soar with cloud phones and cloud-based business management.

Video and Telemedicine

For businesses, bringing people together face-to-face leads to advantages like improved communication, better, faster decision making and more effective team work.

In the case of telemedicine, high-quality video conferencing can save lives. Telemedicine can mean many different things, but often it involves connecting patients in small, remote clinics to specialists in large urban health care centers.

Telemedicine makes it possible for patients who need acute, chronic or emergency care to meet face-to-face with highly-trained specialists without the expense, inconvenience and delay associated with travel. Local providers perform assessments and provide care under the guidance of the specialists.

For patients, this means improved access to high-quality care. For local clinics, it means the ability to serve more patients locally and for specialists, it means being able to efficiently deliver more care to more patients from a single, centralized location.

When Renown Health (Northern Nevada’s largest integrated healthcare network) decided to implement a comprehensive telemedicine program to serve rural residents, they evaluated solutions from a number of video conferencing vendors including Cisco (Tandberg) and Polycom. In the end, Renown selected Scopia video solutions from Avaya. The result is the highly successful R-TeleMed program, currently covering 25 specialties with more on the way.

Scopia video solutions offer a number of advantages over competing solutions. Scopia video is the only option that provides HD-quality in both the data and the personal-interaction channel. For a specialist, the ability to view a diagnostic image, for example, in HD is critically important. Scopia solutions also offer important advantages in terms of security, ease-of-use and interoperability with existing systems.

You can learn more about Avaya and Renown Health’s R-TeleMed program here.

What can Napster teach us about the consumerization of IT (BYOD)

The article was published in Forbes magazine – here is the complete link: This is a guest post by Jesse Lipson, VP and GM of Data Sharing, Citrix. I think that it is a great article- exceptionally well written and concise.

The music industry has undergone quite a transformation over the last 15 years. Of course, we can often apply lessons from other industries to our own.


source: Rhapsody

Back in the 1990s, if I heard a song I really liked on the radio and wanted to buy it, I’d have to make a trip to the record store. After battling traffic and jockeying for a parking spot, I’d rifle through the CD selection and—if it was in stock—I’d pay $15–$20 for the privilege (even if there were just a few songs on the album that I wanted).

This was a great model—for the record labels. But for music lovers, it was inefficient and expensive. Then Napster came and changed everything.

In many ways, Napster is like the BYOD trend. Read on: I’ll tell you why and I’ll give you my top tips to avoid bringing your own security nightmare…

Bring Your Own Piracy

With Napster, if someone heard a song they liked on the radio, all they did was type the name into a search box; they could download it instantly, for free. And they could share it with their friends.

Users loved Napster, but deep down we all knew that the model wasn’t sustainable: Napster lacked a way for musicians and labels to monetize and protect their intellectual property.

To cut a long story short, all that changed in 2003, when Apple released the iTunes Music Store: It helped resolve the conflict between the old and new models of music consumption. But iTunes wasn’t quite as convenient as Napster. Downloaded songs were protected from sharing by digital rights management (DRM) and they cost 99 cents each.

However, iTunes did allow users to buy music from the comfort of their own home, while letting the music industry monetize and protect their songs. Apple was able to satisfy both parties.

Standardization vs. Cowboys

The consumerization of IT is now driving a similar transformation in enterprise hardware and software. The traditional IT model is what I call Standardization, where employees are issued company-owned mobile devices, and forced to use infrequently updated software that’s only accessible inside the firewall.

There are benefits to Standardization, but it’s increasingly untenable: Employees come to expect the same ease of use and performance from the software they use at work as they do from the software they use at home, like Facebook and Twitter.

Frustrated with the inefficiencies of the old Standardization model, many employees are embracing a new model, which I call Cowboy Consumerization. They’re buying their own phones and tablets, installing their own software to store and manage company data.

Just like Napster, Cowboy Consumerization provides users with efficiency and productivity. But also like Napster, we know that Cowboy Consumerization simply isn’t sustainable.

So how Widespread is it?

According to an August 2012 Enterprise Strategy Group report, 70% of organizations know or suspect their employees are using personal online file sharing accounts without formal IT approval.

I spoke with a group of CIOs at Citrix Synergy three weeks ago. They were seriously concerned about the security risks that personal file sharing solutions pose within their organizations.

Among their top security worries:

  • How do I protect corporate data and intellectual property if an employee leaves the company or loses their device?
  • How do I ensure compliance with, say, HIPAA or FINRA rules, if we can’t see how employees store and share corporate data?
  • How do I ensure that we’re honoring customer and partner contracts that require their data to be stored on-premises, in specific geographic regions, or with certain encryption standards?

Ultimately, IT needs to follow the example of iTunes and create a solution that combines elements of Standardization and Consumerization. There has to be a happy medium between those two models.

Here are some guidelines on how to square that circle:

  • For company-issued mobile devices, use mobile device management or mobile application management (MAM) software for application provisioning and application/device wiping.
  • For BYOD mobile devices, use a MAM solution to manage business apps on the device while letting the end user manage their own personal apps. That way, if the employee leaves or the device is lost, you can wipe just the corporate data from it.
  • Enterprise apps need to be updated more rapidly than IT typically considers acceptable. Remember, you’re competing with consumer apps like Facebook and Twitter; employees have higher usability expectations. If you can’t keep pace, consider using a cloud vendor to deliver your apps.
  • Different enterprises need to comply with different laws and regulations. Make sure that the software you adopt provides you with account-level preferences to allow you to tweak security settings. You need to meet your needs today, but also be able to revisit down the road, based on user feedback.
  • Make sure that the new tools you adopt allow you to take advantage of existing investments, such as network shares or SharePoint.

As you evaluate the right BYOD strategy, think about Napster and the importance of creating a happy medium between security and convenience.

For more information about setting up your own BYOD policies- check out our FREE VIDEO LIBRARY at


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