Multitude of pressures on IT for mobility and productivity services

(Image: Mediateam)

30 September 2016

Irish organisations are under increasing pressure to meet the needs of data security, availability and privacy, while keeping up with the expectations of millennial’s in the war for talent.

These were some of key themes at the TechFire event, in association with Fujitsu, Citrix and Microsoft, dealing with the topic of working better, anywhere.

Shirley Finnerty, Windows Business Group Lead, Microsoft Ireland, said that the strength of the mobile and productivity stack, based on Windows 10 and its ecosystem, “gives you the reassurance that there are solutions to help you on your journey”.

Despite the level of capability that is now provided in the broad offering that is Windows 10, Bryan Janes, WW solutions architect, Citrix, said that there are still ways that vendors can add value. He gave the example of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Skype for Business.

Janes said that “if you want Skype for Business and VDI, you need Citrix”.

Through a letterbox
Highlighting the capabilities of the new generation of productivity and collaboration tools now enabled by Windows 10, David Delaney service delivery director, Fujitsu, said that the old experience was akin to “working through a letterbox”.

Now, said Delaney, irrespective of the device being used, the user can have a rich, collaborative experience that enables productivity and allows the user to work however, and wherever they want, securely.

Results from the TechBeat work anywhere survey showed that 31% of Irish organisations had already deployed Windows 10. A show of hands from the floor confirmed the survey statistics, with around a third of those present indicating they were already embarking on a Windows 10 migrations.

In the end user experience interview, Richard John, Group Head of EUC Transformation, British American Tobacco, said that a major implementation of Windows 10, Office 365, Skype for Business and new end user devices had allowed the organisation to compete for the best of new talent. Shaking off a perception of technological conservatism, John said that programme had enabled the use capabilities such as video interviews that helped project an image of a modern, competitive workplace which was important in attracting talent.

Vendor support
One user experience from the attendees detailed a failed update to the Windows 10 anniversary edition due to incompatible security software. It prompted the question of whether the new+ as-a-service delivery model of Windows 10 would enjoy the same level of third party vendor support as previous models, ensuring such issues did not arise.

Microsoft’s Finnerty said that the level of vendor cooperation and sharing with Microsoft on Windows 10 was, if anything, greater than ever. Also, she said the Windows Insider programme, where end user organisations could trial builds of the OS were open to a wider base of participation than ever before and had already yielded invaluable information to help shape development. She highlighted the various tracks on which organisations could take the rolling updates in the service model, right up to the full manual, voluntary track. All of these facilities, said Finnerty, should allow organisations to consume the updates in a manner that best suits their business model and regulatory obligations while staying up to date with the latest protections and features.

Device access
A question was put to the panel in relation to recent comments by IT forensics expert Andrew Harbison of Grant Thornton.

Harbison had said at the 2016 ICS Leaders Conference that Irish organisations should not engage in bring your own device (BYOD) schemes because Irish law was unaccommodating should the organisation need access, for whatever reason, to the end user device.

Fujitsu’s Delaney said that there were various ways to mitigate that risk. First of all, a clearly stated policy that expresses the organisation’s right to access the device when it used to access its information resources gives a basis from which to work.

Remote kill
Secondly, said Delaney, most mechanisms for delivery of corporate data to a BYO device do so on the basis of a container which is segregated from the rest of the device. This allows greater control and less chance of a user being able to exfiltrate information.

Also, there are various remote kill mechanisms which can wipe either the corporate container or disable the entire device, negating the need for access.

“You don’t own the device, but you own the bubble in which all of it is running,” said Delaney.

TechCentral Reporters

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