In April 2013 Aruba Networks launched a new Enterprise Mobility app that gave total privacy for personal users and total security for enterprise data on the same device at the same time. Chris Kozup from Aruba Networks is here to tell us more.
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First of all tell us more about yourself and give us a bit of background on Aruba Networks?
My responsibility with Aruba is that I am the Senior Director of Marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa based in Paris, France. Aruba has been in the market now for approximately 11 years and our focus as a company is to deliver end to end comprehensive solutions that allow enterprises and service providers to really deliver the holistic mobility experience so everything from the network piece to the security piece and then extending into what we are going to talk about today which is all about mobile applications and pulling them all together to allow our customers to have a comprehensive mobility platform.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by Enterprise Mobility?
It started very much in the vertical segment about 10-15 years ago where you had retailers and logistics companies needing to have extensions to hand held terminals that they were using for various business processes, think about bar code scanning as a great example. As the market progressed and we sold more and more laptops into the market they started to be received by the general worker who became more and more mobile the enterprise until today with the broad variety of tablets and smart phones. What we mean when we say mobility is everything from how that user connects to information and how they access information over a network and how they move between networks. Also how they move between network environments so in the office one day and on the road or in the airport or potentially at home another day. So it’s all the intelligence, software and the management that make that experience robust and reliable but secure and easy for that enterprise to manage.
Tell us about this new product called Workspace then. What were the gaps in your offerings beforehand that led to the development of this product?
That is a good place to start. The market has been talking a lot about BYOD over the past 2 years “Bring your own device” and what we are really seeing within our customer environment is that BYOD for most people essentially means a shift in who is buying the device, so traditionally IT has always bought and given a device to a user when they come into the company. Typically it was a laptop or a Blackberry smart phone. But, increasingly of course what BYOD means is that the user is buying their device and bringing that device into the network. Now the reality is that we are seeing an evolution of the BYOD challenge. It is not just about whom is procuring the device but we are actually seeing a complete shift in user owned or user controlled IT. So, I as an employee am increasingly making my choices around which devices I buy and which devices I use, which networks I connect into and which applications I use. It is a complete reversal to how we have been in the past really, enterprise computing has always been an IT led scenario and now we are seeing the user actually take more and more ownership of the types of services that they are using. This is on the one hand great from the users perspective because they have a lot of freedom, they get to choose the applications and devices that they like but of course for IT this represents some significant challenges. So it’s these challenges around how I secure my network with these employee owned devices coming into my office, and how I manage those devices within the policies and the parameters that my business deems appropriate. Furthermore, how can I ensure that I can manage the applications that these users are selecting for those devices?
So what Aruba is announcing with Workspace is a solution that really expands our portfolio into the mobile device and mobile application management environment. Leveraging what we already have in terms of secure network connectivity and secure wireless network connectivity for smart phones and tablets and other mobile devices but now also moving into the device itself and managing that. This includes the applications that the user is bringing in on those devices as well.
You mention the challenges around users bringing in their own devices to work and you actually quote some interesting research that you carried out showing that 48% of users would feel violated if their employer had access to their personal devices and 54% admitted that they would not report the loss of a mobile device to their employer. What impact did this research have on the development of the new Workspace app?
Essentially what you are seeing in that data is that on the one hand the user is saying that this is my personal device and I do not want anyone to touch my personal information and at the same time they are saying by the way I am not going to tell you if I lose that device which now has corporate information on it. So you can see here the kind of difficulties that this places businesses into. Essentially of course they want these users to be able to use these devices and users want business information and business applications on those devices but they are not always willing to share or keep IT up to date. So this is a challenge of managing personal with the professional lives of employees because let’s face it all of us increasingly in our day-to-day activities blur the lines between professional and personal.
This challenge is what Workspace is ideally aimed to solve and how it does that is it creates a workspace on that device that allows all corporate owned applications to be managed and controlled on that employees personal device. By leveraging the policy intelligence that we have back in the network we can do things like for example, say okay that employee with his own device has now moved into a restricted zone, we know that because we know how and where the device is connecting so we can instruct that device to block the camera on the device for example, or block any sensitive applications that may be running on that device. In that scenario you are seeing complete integration of network intelligence, device intelligence and application intelligence. This is ultimately what Aruba Workspace is all about and how we showcase really the differentiation that we are delivering to the market with this announcement.
Well the network intelligence of this app is very interesting. You describe this app as network fluent. This must have been very important in allowing it to adapt to different networks and the security required on them?
That is exactly right. I will give you another example, with a lot of the Apple IOS devices whether they be tablets or iPhones, they are always looking to update their iCloud backups. Apple introduced iCloud and of course a lot of the contents are constantly being synched back into the cloud. Well, an enterprise may decide that their network is relatively congested on any given day and so can actually free up information into the device and restrict the amount of iCloud back ups that the device is allowed to do at any given point in time. So again you are seeing a great example of how we can understand what is happening in the network environment and then use that intelligence to affect how we authorize as well.
So how are you finding this app being received by organizations? Are they seeing the benefits from it straight away?
Certainly at the moment we are currently in beta testing with the product and what have found is that the product has been very well received and in fact our customers keep coming to us asking if we can support more and more applications with this platform. At the time of launch we are announcing 40 application partners that are working with us within the workspace solution. We are also announcing the introduction of a program that will allow us to bring in more and more application providers and also those applications that our customers may be developing in-house. That allows us ultimately to scale how our customers can manage more and more mobile apps within our environment. I think that this has been the biggest take away from the initial deployment that we have had in place. It is just the need for a broader portfolio of applications that our customers want to manage.
That leads us nicely onto the partner community, was it necessary to offer all those different aspects?
That is absolutely correct it is very important for us to be able to scale this program and make sure that we are making public the interfaces to the workspace application because being able to support a broad variety of applications like customers own internal developments is critical in making sure that this solution is a success.
What sort of processes do you have to go through as a solutions provider to create a product such as this for your customers?
Obviously it starts with being close to your customers and Aruba always prides itself on being very very customer focused and making sure that we are listening and working with our customers on a regular basis to understand what additional requirements and needs they have. Once we start with that kernel of information of course often at times it helps to be able to segment off a specific target team to be able to go and determine the problems and determine the solution and ultimately get to work in terms of engineering development.