We kicked off the month with the latest Asquarterly panel discussion and industry networking event. Over 50 businesses were represented and the evening brought about insightful discussions on a range of prevailing technology topics faced by all companies, from SMEs to MNCs.
On the Panel…
Up for Discussion…
- WindowsXP end-of-life
- SaaS in the enterprise
- Opportunities and threats of BYOD
April 8, 2014 marked the end-of-life for Windows XP and along with it, the end of any support for the operating system that was released in 2001 and supported the Web 2.0 movement as well as the launch of multiple social media giants, such as Facebook.
But, why does this even matter? Almost 20% of PCs in Australia are potentially impacted by this changeover, including enterprise and domestic applications as well as public applications such as ATMs.
Does this pose an opportunity for enterprises to embrace other browsers and methods of working, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Software as a Service (SaaS)?
How do people and companies remove themselves from XP? How are businesses and users being educated?
Bring your own device (BYOD) – refers to the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.
Stephanie: “Johnson and Johnson thought BYOD would be the fix for the end of WindowsXP, but this didn’t succeed because we are not a technology company. If people are bringing their own devices to the office, how can other challenges be solved such as support when things go wrong? We believed it was better to go through the pain of upgrading and spent millions of dollars to upgrade our entire employee base.
Going forward, we recognise it’s a race between virtualisation and SaaS, ultimately allowing for the enterprise to be successfully OS agnostic.
Maybe next time we will be ready to dump Windows (or any other OS), before it dumps us. This is the only way to avoid that point of no return of having to continually invest in infrastructure.
BYOD is not just about laptops but also mobile devices. It should become irrelevant which OS you are using long term. Millenials will be the ones driving this throughout enterprises in the future and we are already seeing this happen in many organisations.”
Could SaaS be the solution? What’s the definition of SaaS? Should it be OS agnostic? Can it be a reality?
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud by independent software vendors (ISVs) or application service providers (ASPs)
Peter: “Pitney Bowes is currently in transition. For a 90-year-old company, we have moved along quickly as technology has developed. SaaS is a real, but slow reality. We are using SaaS within our HR and CRM processes but threats such as security, privacy, and data sovereignty all pose their own challenges, whether the threat is real or perceived.
For us, data sovereignty is a perceived, rather than real, threat. Due to the US Patriot Act, all data is kept in country at global data warehouses, so we are able to eliminate this problem. Privacy and security are, however, very real threats for us and, data beyond our own firewalls leaves us open to potential exposure.
We always ensure we discuss issues around security breaches with our buyers and clients and set out everyone’s expectations from an early point. I also recommend these discussions be fully documented.
We look for providers who focus on enterprise solutions, rather than user software.”
If offering BYOD, what do enterprises need to be aware of?
Darren: “Different devices made from new, potentially cheap hardware, with low processing power are now entering the corporate environment. Web browsers are becoming the OS of choice and it’s often hard to manage all this. Also, there are constantly new forms of hardware entering the personal use market that can potentially enter the enterprise – wristbands, watches etc. all access wifi and can pose firewall threats.
BYOD and SaaS mean that the consumerisation of IT is upon us. Business users are more informed about technology than ever before because they are using it for their social media, personal sharing and storage needs, such as Dropbox. IT needs to respond to this rise in knowledge and demand for flexibility.
Applications such as Google Drive and Dropbox are great for personal use, but when we start sharing corporate information and documents through these channels, we have to consider the enterprise access and control concerns.
Less than 1% of Google’s business is focused on enterprise solutions; they are geared towards personal and small business usage. What companies need, and soon, are providers of software that meet both the user and enterprise needs.”
Stephanie: “It’s a race from the corporate perspective to always remain ahead of the latest trend and deciding if we need to adapt to the latest technology or if it will soon pass and not be as relevant anymore.”
Can organisations combine BYOD with in-house systems effectively?
Stephanie: “Ultimately, it has to be a system that works for everyone; the capability value is key. Legacy admin systems exist everywhere and can really slow things down. If business users are able to complete their job tasks quickly on their chosen applications but then have to complete their annual leave requests through an older, slower system that can only be accessed via the enterprise hardware, this is still inefficient.”
Darren: “When a company laptop leaves the office, there are so many threats an organisation can face. But, instead of trying to increase our security to minimise these threats, we should be looking to reduce the areas that need securing first. We can no longer think about what is inside and outside of our firewall, instead we need to look at the levels at which things need to be locked down, or not; the parameterisation of technology. Cloud technology means giving up some control.”
If a company implements a BYOD policy, how can employees be sure of what their organisation is accessing from their personal devices?
Stephanie: “A big cultural shift is needed to make this work and millenials will be driving this in the future. Companies should reduce what they are locking down and educate their staff on data security principles; but it is a huge company culture shift to successfully adopt BYOD.”
Asq Projects would like to thank everyone who attended the event as well as a special thank you to our wonderful panel.
Book now: Reserve your place for the next Asquarterly event on Thursday 7 August – ‘Change vs Project Management’ – click here to book.