For many enterprises, schools, or even Federal agencies; BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Disaster. After talking with lots of customers and partners, I can relate. By my anecdotal calculation, over half of all BYOD projects fail (a major Brocade partner swears it’s closer to 90%). The thing is, it doesn’t need to be that way. After attending numerous seminars, reading tons of papers and blogs, etc., and viewing vendor ads; you’d think BYOD was all about security. But it’s not!! And this is the trap that everyone falls into and is the main cause for failure.
Surprisingly, the solution is very simple –it just takes planning and focus. With careful planning and a focus on delivering a secure, high quality user experience as your guide post; you’ll see that BYOD is much more than just security. Yes. Security is a very important aspect but without forethought and planning for the impact BYOD will have on your infrastructure, you’re doomed to fail. You have to make sure your wireless and wired infrastructure can deliver the level of service your users demand. That's it.
But wait, there’s more!!!
Even when planners DO consider a wireless network, they again lose focus. All too often, focus is given to coverage and nearly none given to capacity. “Hang and Hope” is a common phrase I hear. Hang a bunch of access points to deliver the coverage users need and HOPE they and the wired network they connect to have the capacity to deliver the bandwidth-intensive, quality-of-service sensitive applications users consume. More often than not, their hope is quickly dashed as more and more user devices connect to this new network only to overload the IP address space and consume critical bandwidth with non-critical services such as music or movie streaming. Again, the answer is simple. Do the necessary planning to make sure you have enough capacity across your wireless AND wired network to match the coverage needed to deliver the right level of service and performance where and when your users need.
As for security, I've already mentioned is important...in fact, it's vital. My suggestion, take an approach that’s been proven for decades and you'll be very familiar with because you're probably already doing it at home. Look to security vendors who are 100% dedicated to security for help. Vendors who provide “integrated“ security may not have the corporate focus you need to securely and confidently deliver BYOD to your users. Once you’ve selected your security partner, make sure they work seamlessly with your infrastructure provider. Combined solutions from a single vendor are really attractive because they give you the impression they are integrated when in fact, the reality may not be the case. Worse yet, they're not 100% dedicated to security.
To summarize, BYOD is not just about security. Careful planning and focus –considering infrastructure equally with security and making sure you take a “capacity over coverage” approach, will dramatically increase your chance of success.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you can turn BYOD from Bring Your Own Disaster to Bring Your Own Device.
What's your experience?
UPDATE 08/05/13: For those interested in learning more about Brocade BYOD, go here.