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Interoperability: Simplicity in a multi-vendor world


Managing your technology strategy in today’s working environment means dealing with hundreds of applications across numerous devices, a large majority of which could belong to your employees, not your company. Interoperability today means ensuring that the data passing through these various applications and devices is secure and easily accessible to all.

Life was simpler fifteen years ago, wasn’t it?

While the busywork of managing networks and software was no less time-consuming, most IT departments mandated a single OS and a handful of office apps. So when your well-thought-out technology strategy ran into that “look, just make it work!” attitude from other department heads, it was perhaps easier to deal with.

Fast forward to 2015. The same problem, magnified a hundredfold. Today, “look, just make it work!” means dealing with hundreds of applications, dozens of device brands, and extensive BYOD security challenges. And the biggest problem of all…

…today, there’s a better-than-even chance those devices are the employee’s OWN.

Your concerns today aren’t about processing poor software. They’re about whether critical business documents are sharing space with the Marketing guy’s half-finished fan fiction. Or whether your CEO’s confidential briefing might end up on her daughter’s YouTube channel.

There’s a simpler way to think about these issues. And if you make sure every IT worker – from the most junior up – adopts it, you’ll be on your way to robust, interoperable systems no matter what devices they use when accessing their network. It involves thinking BYOD security challenges through from beginning to end with a single principle.

So what is this BYOD security principle? It’s that BYOD security is data security, full stop.

If you can wall off company data from whatever else the employee has on his device, you’re addressing multiple BYOD security risks with a single strategy. It means work data stays at work. And everything else? Not your problem.

Think cloud not disk

Data Protection law is a lot easier to follow when your collaboration and communication infrastructure unites data in the cloud rather than on a thousand chunks of unsecured local storage. So one area to look at is how well your business-critical applications work together on a cloud-based platform. These days, several vendors offer a broad choice of applications – including major brand names – certified to work together in a secure cloud. Perfect for addressing BYOD security risks.

Think unified not separate

Usage of your applications – and the ROI it’s returning to your business – goes up if employees can use applications they’re familiar with, and pick and choose between them for different tasks. Some may prefer to exchange files while discussing them; some may want to share a whiteboard while holding a teleconference. A unified communications infrastructure brings different applications into the same secure infrastructure.

Think policies not approved lists

Many companies still have lists of devices and applications “approved” for use… which in practice means end-users constantly doing end-runs around your security. When you think about bring your own device security, you can enforce policies as policies, rather than attempting to control every last app on the phone. You’re not locking down every device, you’re locking down just the part that matters, your business data and communications. Making life easier.

Finally – IT strategy, not IT firefighting!

Perhaps the greatest benefit of treating BYOD security as data security is that it’s a genuine strategy your board and bosses can understand before any project begins, even those without technical smarts. Every “Look. Just make it work” request can be answered in terms defined by your strategy, not in terms of workarounds and exceptions. With application management in the cloud, not on the device.

The UK government has issued comprehensive guidance on BYOD security. But there are benefits to working with a partner who understands both Data Protection law and the business pain IT managers suffer every day to ensure your BYOD policies are protected.


  • BYOD security is data security
  • Don’t manage the device, just manage the data
  • A simple strategy solves “Look, just make it work”!
  • Secure communication means safe legal compliance

Discover how to secure interoperability when people are away from the office: The connected business: Anywhere, anytime, anyhow empowering a flexible workforce


About the author

Ryan O'Reilly is a progressive, visionary leader with 16 years operational experience of managing technical departments, deploying carrier grade IT and Telecommunication infrastructures and delivering world class hosting solutions. Ryan has proven success in defining operational and technical rollout strategies and leading high performance teams to exceed company objectives in highly pressurised, high pace working environments.

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