Surviving the Bring Your Own Device Revolution in Hospitality Requires Planning and Security
Surviving the Tablet Revolution
Integrating iPads and other BYOD tablets requires dealing with heavy streaming, gaming, and off-work content.
By Joel Shore

Guests are checking in with tablet computers in tow. Are you being equally hospitable to iPad, Android and Windows?

Secure Edge’s Philip Wegner lives Wi-Fi and tablets every day. Here’s how he sees it.

Best Practices: Plan for BYOD, even if you’d like to restrict tablet support to a single platform. Though the iPad is the market leader, Android is not going away and Windows 8 is likely to breathe new life into that platform.

Pain Points: Not being ready to support tablet and Wi-Fi demand is bad for “business” and reflects badly on IT. Many areas need to be addressed, including bandwidth, policy development and implementation, determining access rights, segmenting BYOD tablet traffic and barring access to sensitive files, data encryption and more.

Top Trends: Many businesses, educational institutions, and health care organizations are developing their own smartphone and tablet apps. If you don’t have developers who understand the special requirements of these devices, seek an outside expert who does.

Budget Savers: The best way to deal with Wi-Fi devices economically is to get the network and apps design along with security policy management and deployment right the first time. Even most robust estimates of Wi-Fi use are likely to be woefully inadequate. Plan ahead.

It used to be that technology created for commercial or military applications eventually filtered down to consumers. No more. Now, it’s just the opposite. To know which technologies your organization’s IT staff will need to support next year, look no further than what the teenagers in your own home are using today. They were among the first to have smartphones running iOS, Android or Windows Mobile. Now it’s tablets, typified by the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy. Like it or not, mobile devices are here to stay — they’ve already become an essential part of many organizations’ operations. Embrace the tablet and stay competitive. Ignore it and wither.

A key emerging issue when it comes to tablet deployment is deciding whether to allow only company-issued units on the network or whether to also support the use of employees’ personal devices, the so-called bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenario. The choice is anything but clear.

Philip Wegner, President of Secure Edge Networks, a Charlotte, N.C. mobile computing and communications integrator, is in the thick of it. “Many organizations are standardizing on iPads by issuing them to employees,” he says. That means supporting just one platform. “Others that adopt a BYOD strategy have to support multiple platforms and very carefully control access to assets.” With BYOD, be on the lookout for tablets being used for unnecessary streaming, gaming, file sharing and inappropriate content, Wegner adds.

BYOD vastly increases network complexity in terms of security, controlling access rights by identifying individual tablet devices. Add policy enforcement and bandwidth management and you’ve got quite an infrastructure to oversee. BYOD also carries hidden costs — the hardware

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