I spent yesterday in the Philadelphia area at the SAP users group (ASUG) chapter event. The purpose of these events is to provide an intimate gathering for SAP partners and customers to share new ideas and promote new SAP solutions. F5 was provided the opportunity to speak at the event on how F5 access and security solutions compliment SAP application deployments in the enterprise and most important issues that IT departments need to consider when implementing a BYOD strategy.  Whether you support or are opposed to allowing your mobile workers to utilize their own devices it is inevitable that they will demand the use of private iPad, iPhone, Android and other smart mobile devices in performing their jobs.  Ensuring that large organizations can effectively execute on this strategy is another matter entirely.  The numbers however, are pretty staggering:

- IDC has reported total smartphone shipments in 2011 were nearly 500 million this represents 1/14th of total world population

- IDC has also estimated that in 2012 mobile devices are expected to surpass PCs in both shipments and spending

Whatever your organizations’ policy on BYOD is currently it is probable that adapting to your users requirement to utilize mobile devices will overwhelm a desire to maintain device security and control.  IT policies will therefore need to adapt to requirement via two methods one approach – I will call it the traditional command and control approach, will issue all mobile devices, ensure that mobile devices are patched, updated and repaired by the internal IT department and will provide strict access and security policies for all users of these devices. The second approach – I will call the delegate and hold accountable approach will ensure that devices requiring access to internal IT applications and resources will conform to specific minimum IT policies, have secured network access and be directed only to those resources necessary to perform a users particular job functions.  The second approach clearly recognizes the inevitability of the smart mobile device being part of the ecosystem.  F5 plays a critical function in many key areas to provide secure access and protect corporate applications from malicious attacks with our APM (Universal Access) and ASM (Application Security) for organizations adapting to a mobile workforce. (See Diagram Below).

SAP has made a major push into the mobility arena in the past year with their acquisition of Syclo (Mobile Applications for SAP) and Afaria (Mobile Device Management) with a clear understanding that an increasingly mobile workforce will need instantaneous action to real time, actionable business intelligence (See:  HANA SAPs real-time in-memory DB).  F5 will play a critical function in ensuring these real-time mobile applications are available, perform well and are secure.

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