I was at a customer site the other day, and it struck me how often their main reason for talking to F5 came up with other customers I talk to.  These particular guys are in property management, but how their employees access apps, and the apps they use, are familiar stories.

So, here’s a company that operates a single location that data is served from, but technically nearly all their users are remote; the nature of their business means users access the apps from the serviced offices around the UK that this company manages.  Their key apps are Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint – all very ubiquitous stuff.

They wanted to talk through a few things.  Productivity was one – software is getting more complex, and with more users being remote, apps can often become unusable if the user isn’t within the office it’s served from.  Application access can be very painful for remote users.

The second issue was security.  They didn’t want to have a two tier security policy, where remote users have to jump through numerous hoops (three logins, a token) before they got to the app.  The productivity issue relates to this, and they also wanted to apply a consistent security policy to all employees (with good reason, as this story attests).

The commonality that struck me was this seemingly growing recognition that mobile and remote users needn’t be the weakest link in the context of both user experience and security.  Furthermore, people seem to be waking up to the fact that robust security policies needn’t mean slow apps, or slow app access.

By way of example: Our demo to the customer involved setting it up so off-site users accessed apps through an F5 device. App performance turned out to be far better for the remote users than for those served the same app through a LAN in the same office as the data.