The age of the mobile-first enterprise is upon us. The challenges that face IT can be daunting and decisions made about access to enterprise resources today will affect how efficient and effective the IT organization is for years to come.
These ten tips showcase what it means to be a mobile-first enterprise and what networks are needed to accommodate the modern corporate user. It seeks to understand the potential issues IT faces in a mobile-first enterprise and the advantages of framing the problems properly for long-term success and effectiveness.
1. Design Around the User, Not the Network
Optimizing the network for mobility is the key to servicing a mobile-first enterprise in a fashion that allows your IT resources to scale. This essentially means implementing a network infrastructure that is completely “user-centric” or takes into account the user context (application, identity, device, location, and time) and optimizes the user experience around that user’s needs.
2. Unify Wired and Wireless Management for Seamless Workflows and Optimized Application Performance
Designing the network where mobility is inherent in the design philosophy (a mobile imperative) transforms the way IT administrators can visualize, monitor, and manage their access network infrastructure. The clear benefit of designing for mobility is “rightsizing” the wired infrastructure to save money.
3. Connect Users Properly To Begin Optimizing Around Them
There are really two major camps when it comes to ensuring mobile devices are accessing the network securely. On one side, there are many companies who are very successful in deploying agent-based Mobile Device Management solutions to ensure connected devices have the right software, permissions, and security settings before allowing them to connect to the network.
4. Implement Proper Authentication and Access even for Guest and BYO devices
Ensure secure access so that mobile devices are expected to easily connect to any type of network – even one requiring certificates. However, it is equally important to support older devices that only support legacy networks like 802.11g and don’t support certificate-based authentication.
5. Ensure Security and Enforcement Is At The Edge and User-centric
Policy enforcement in a mobile-first environment is based on the user. The user’s identity defines permissions to the network, such as what VLAN the user should be assigned to, the firewall, tunnel, and application QoS policies for that user or group of users, client enforcement features such as SLA and client classification settings, and various other settings that can be applied on a per-user basis.
6. Optimize Wireless (Radio Frequency) Connectivity
Another important aspect of a mobility optimized access solution is optimizing the actual radio frequency (RF) capabilities for the device types that are present in today’s mobile-first enterprises.
7. Ensure the Network can handle the density that comes in with a Mobile-First Enterprise
It’s clear from the development of 802.11ac at 5Ghz that today’s technology using 2.4GHz radio spectrum is going the way of VHS. Limited by channel capacity and general over-use by a myriad of Wi-Fi and non- 802.11 devices alike, the 2.4GHz will not be joining its 5GHz brother in moving towards gigabit Wi-Fi. However, since many of the devices on the market still support only this band, it’s important that Wi-Fi vendors provide adequate functionality to deal with the ever-expanding load on this struggling spectrum.
8. Provide Zero-Configuration Services To Users to keep them productive
Let’s assume for a minute a perfect world where all the users are perfectly connected, the network is working like a dream at full performance, and every single user is perfectly happy with his or her ability to connect any device to the network and get the proper permissions defined by the administrator. Even so, supporting mobile users, particularly those with consumer-grade smart phones and tablets, means users will want to actually use their device to connect and interact with network resources and services. Printing and video projection are two common requests that come up almost immediately, which means another necessary requirement for a mobility-optimized solution is a truly service-aware network, where the network aids clients in finding necessary resources without requiring IT intervention.
9. Simplify Wireless Problem Remediation to ease IT’s burden
If the devices have trouble accessing resources, the IT administrator often gets a call where the user is complaining about the network – even though it could be the device’s issue. How can this be quickly isolated is an important aspect of the mobility optimized access solution
10. Provide The Same Access Everywhere Without Remote Hands
Once the administrator has defined the network access policy, configured the available SSIDs and VLANs, and created policies to assign permissions based on identity and device type, that same policy should be extended to any device accessing the corporate network from wherever that device and user are located.
Director of Product Marketing and Networking Expert