On: 20 Dec 2017

Stephen O'Herlihy, Chief Technical Officer at PFH recently spoke to Alex Meehan on how the ability to go mobile is more important than ever.

For Stephen O’Herlihy, chief technology officer for PFH Technology Group, an interesting development in enterprise mobility has been a move away from focusing on data delivery devices.

“A lot of the enterprise mobility activities we are seeing are about the ability to deliver a digital workspace platform to a user. I’m a big believer in talking to customers about what they want to deliver to the user,” he said.

“In other words, what kind of applications and what kind of data as opposed to what devices — I think this is about moving away from the idea being that the user is tied to an individual device and only that device.”

For example, a growing number of people use multiple devices for different purposes, and an enterprise mobility strategy needs to be able to deal with Google Chromebook, Apple’s iOS devices, Android devices and Windows devices, all at the same time.

“It’s about being able to deliver a consistent seamless experience irrespective of what device the user wants to use in the workplace or in their personal life, because sometimes you have to work with a personally owned device rather than a corporate device,” said O’Herlihy.

Many people want to be able to use a personal device to access some of their work-related content, but, of course, all this needs to be securely delivered using identity management.”

PFH works primarily in this area with Microsoft’s Office 365 enterprise management suite and VMware’s M-watch, both of which are designed to deliver a digital workspace.

“Of course, the very idea that a user goes to their desk to do their work is truly gone. Obviously, there’s some exceptions but home working and mobile work are becoming extremely popular. We’re also moving into a new era when the larger concept of human-machine partnership is evolving to include the concepts of AI assistance and VR meetings and so forth,” said O’Herlihy.

“I think mobile technology is in its infancy at the moment and a top priority for customers when we talk to them is securing the data and the applications. The conversation may start with them very much around the need to secure the device but the real asset that needs protecting is their data.”

At the same time, companies are increasingly struggling under the strain of supporting all the new devices that are flooding into the enterprise.

“A few years ago, if you had a 500-user estate on paper, that probably meant managing 500 devices. But that’s now probably more like 1,500 devices, from tablets to smartphones to laptops and desktop machines. You need to be concerned about any device that stores data and runs applications. To do this, you have to start thinking in terms of a digital workspace which has full identity wrap around,” said O’Herlihy.

“This means when you provision a user, you provision a single digital workspace. When the user leaves, and this is a huge problem from a security perspective, you need to know how to erase their access to the data they no longer should have access to.”