Dell’s Jeff McNaught on mobility, virtualization and security

dell-esg-logo1Dell‘s Jeff McNaught, the Executive Director of Marketing and Chief Strategy Office, dropped by recently to discuss mobility, security, virtualization and what is keeping enterprise IT executives awake at night.

What’s keeping executives up at night?

In McNaught’s view, executives are struggling with the following mobile device issues:

  • The proliferation of mobile devices has introduced a number of challenges. The devices  typically are purchased from different vendors and has its own development, management and backup tools. IT finds it difficult to manage the overall computing environment effectively.

  • Data governance is difficult in this rapidly changing computing environment. McNaught pointed out that a great deal of corporate data finds its way onto these devices. This means that the loss of a single device could easily create large problems for the company.

  • Since owners of mobile devices seldom think of corporate and data security, their devices could easily introduce attack surfaces into the corporate network and make security more difficult.

Dell proposes a solution

McNaught believes that the combination of various virtualization technologies is now able to address these issues and will only get better in the future. He made a point to explain that  Windows 10  could be considered a turning point for many enterprises.

Many of the features in that software release allow enterprises to address many corporate requirements using the same set of tools. He went on to suggest that keeping applications and data safely behind enterprise firewalls could make it easier to lock down and control data. Customers and staff could access applications and data though the use of virtualization technologies combined with the appropriate adoption of emerging sophisticated security software can do the trick.

There are still a few issues for technology to solve including how to safely use public clouds, an architectural approach to mobile security that makes it possible for enterprises to lock out security threats in the future, and how to keep distributed data secure in McNaught’s view.

He pointed out that Dell is working on tools that will address these needs, McNaught said but, he wouldn’t go into any level of detail on future offerings.

Snapshot analysis

Many enterprises have been pushing BYOD in the hopes of increasing levels of agility while also reducing costs. Staff and customers are increasingly using mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets and tools to access company applications and data. Customers expect immediate access to the enterprise for product selection, sales, and support. Enterprises find themselves forced to find a way to support of whatever device the customer is using or they’ll simply go down the network to find a more hospitable supplier.

It is clear that virtualizing access to corporate applications and allowing access through apps that execute on all popular mobile devices is a solution to some of these problems.

Dell mentioned tools offered by Citrix while discussing how the challenges could be addressed. Citrix’s receiver software is available for just about everything from an iPhone to an intelligent toaster (I’m kidding about the toaster.) This could address the access needs of users of Android, IOS, Linux, OS X and Windows.

Application virtualization makes it possible for applications themselves to be delivered to select mobile devices. This makes it possible for a more intelligent and immersive environment to be delivered to some devices.

Dell points out that this moves the problems created by a highly diverse environment onto the suppliers of this technology so that enterprise IT no longer has to deal with device support for every devices a staff member or customer might choose.

Dell appears to be addressing enterprise issues using an architectural approach rather than merely putting together a patchwork quilt of software and hardware products. I look forward to learning more as the company rolls out its vision.

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