The whole bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon is a huge shift in corporate IT strategy. Think about it for a second- for years as IT Managers we’ve dictated that nothing would be on our networks unless we owned it and controlled it.
How else would we be sure that our network had the security and performance necessary?
But today, for the first time in history, corporate executives on a large scale are now requesting that the IT managers ALLOW employee BYOD access with an unknown and typically unmanaged device…And keep in mind that the devices that are driving this shift are primarily devices that we use to entertain ourselves i.e. tablets and smart phones.
I’m sure Employees will argue that the iPad is used only for business while at work, but put a traffic shaper on a corporate network these days or a next gen firewall appliance that looks at applications flowing through the internet gateway and you may have a different perspective. We do BYOD networks and wireless security for a living here at SecurEdge, and I can tell you that the major bandwidth hog on corporate networks who allow BYOD access is not the ERP system or “company research”.
The major culprit for bandwidth hogging and performance issues on BYOD networks is video and other streaming media like Pandora, Netflix, and YouTube. We even see gaming and Peer to Peer services like BitTorrent running on a regular basic, which are scary not just because of performance issues. Corporate liability is a huge concern and employee productivity is also at risk.
So if you are thinking about a BYOD policy for your company, I humbly suggest you consider how to manage performance of your wireless network and essentially your network over all.
Here are three ways to manage performance for BYOD wireless networks:
1) Real Time Application Monitoring and Control
It’s pretty difficult to manage what you can’t see. Layer 7 classification simply means that you have the ability to monitor in real time the services that are flowing through your network. Your UPM (unified performance management) system should integrate natively with Active Directory so you know exactly who is doing what.
Who’s on Facebook all day long? Which users are streaming Netflix 24/7? With Real Time Application Monitoring, you’ll know.
2) Bandwidth Management
Now that you’re not flying blind, you can begin to put some policies in place that take the fear out of BYOD. We call this “traffic shaping” or “packet shaping”. It simply means you now have the tools to write all sorts of performance enhancing rules. For example:
A sample BYOD bandwidth policy for schools might be: during the hours of 8-7 the Campus Wi-Fi network will rate limit gaming systems to 10 Meg of bandwidth. From 7 PM to 4 AM, Gaming can consume up to 50% of total bandwidth.
See where we’re headed here? Bandwidth management lets you see and control everything.
3) Performance Optimization
If you’re running a campus wireless network- Moodle, Blackboard, and other learning applications need to take priority. If you’re a hospital- your EMR and patient management systems are critical. Performance optimization is the ability to classify the critical applications, and allow them first right of access (Quality of Service). And if you need really high speed application performance you can add Caching which stores website data on your network and serves it up instantly.
With peformance optimization, your users will feel like they’re flying.
And there you have it. So when you’re building your BYOD wireless network, consider building UPM features into your solution to keep your applications running smoothly and your end users happy and productive.
If you need some help figuring out the details around all of this BYOD access stuff, you can Contact Us Here and we’d be happy to be a resource for you. SecurEdge can help Design, Deploy, and Support your solution. We also have some helpful guides on our site we hope you find useful.