Enterprises still reluctant to move to BYOD, says Citrix

Citrix is targeting IT managers to help make the transition

Enterprises face increasing pressure to adopt policies for bring your own device (BYOD) and remote working, but reluctance still remains, said Citrix director of strategic services, Adam Jaques.

The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) specialist is targeting IT managers worried about making the transition.

“The exceptions of the PC era are the new assumptions of the Cloud era,” Jaques told Computerworld Australia. “It’s now natural for IT to have to plan around the fact that users [have] their own device, that they’re wireless” and that they may be working outside the office.

More businesses recognise the importance of BYOD today, but Jaques said he still sees “reluctance from the old-school organisations that haven’t had a lot of new younger people coming up through the ranks”.

Citrix is trying to encourage businesses to make the shift through better education, Jaques said. “The risks are substantially reduced if not gone away due to this nature of still being able to take control of the enterprise portions of devices.

“We came from this situation maybe four years ago when everyone had a BlackBerry,"

Employers were comfortable because “it was a conscious decision by the enterprise”. Now, staff have their own smartphones and want to connect them to the enterprise, he said.

Jaques said while companies should be encouraged that their staff members are asking to connect their device at work, IT managers fear how all the different devices will interact with the enterprise network — they worry where the data is going, how to manage the devices and what to do if the device is lost or stolen. There’s also the question of who controls the device if the employee leaves the company, he said.

“It’s a situation that’s unavoidable. People are going to naturally bring these devices in.” Executives in particular “buy the latest thing and they insist on it being connected,” he said. “You can’t say no and you want to keep them happy.”

BYOD also forces enterprises to look beyond Windows, Jaques said. Enterprises increasingly have to look at Android and Apple because “people want to have locally installed applications” on their iPhone or Android phone, and there is a movement to HTML5 to more easily support all the platforms.

“Windows absolutely is never going to go away, but it’s going to be more about taking the complexity of all of these different operating system models and different applications and being able to present them in a simple way that’s the same no matter what device you’re on,” he said.

The original Citrix CloudGateway supported only Windows and SAS, but it now supports the other platforms due to increased demand for “the management of the local applications on mobile devices and also the enterprise data that’s being stored and shared from those devices,” he said.

Meanwhile, enterprises are increasingly turning to remote working as they evaluate their real estate footprint and staff talent base, Jaques said. Traditionally, companies employed people locally and had to relocate someone who lived far away, he said.

“There’s more and more pressure now to have anyone work from wherever they need to work from. There’s absolutely no reason now why they can’t be productive and can’t work just like any team member for an enterprise,” he said.

He added that there are benefits for enterprises to enable remote working: “People probably work better when they’re in more of a relaxed atmosphere,” and the environment also benefits since remote working means fewer cars on the road, he said.

Looking to the future of desktop virtualisation, Jaques predicted more integration with the Cloud. “At the moment, VDI is very flexible, but it comes with a lot of planning [and] a lot of implementation thought,” he said. “As the products progress, that planning and architecture … will become a lot easier.”

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