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How does BYOD affect your Enterprise Vault strategy?

Created: 23 May 2013 • Updated: 23 May 2013
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MichelZ's picture
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In this article I'll describe some of what Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is all about, and how it might affect your Enterprise Vault deployment and strategy for usage across your organisation.  Some of things in the article may come as a surprise to you (especially when I tell you that the IT department can be expanded to near-infinite size!), but will definitely give you 'food for thought' when it comes to components that make up your deployment, and acceptance from end-users.

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According to Wikipedia the definition for BYOD is:

Bring your own device (BYOD) (also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own PC (BYOPC)) means the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications

Essentially it means employees in your organisation bring their own device to work, and use it day in and day out for corporate usage. It's not something that IT departments usually enjoy the thought of doing. How does a help desk provide a high level of assistance to end-users when 'everything is different' for every user that calls up the desk? I imagine that software licensing can also be somewhat problematic and troublesome to resolve, though I know in the distant past employees sometimes got the usage of corporate owned software on personal devices.

In many organisations IT departments strive for the 'same device for everyone' nirvana. It means better purchasing deals, easier support, and a single standard corporate software image. It lessens the time it takes to deploy new software and updates to old software simply because the testing matrix of devices and combinations of software just becomes smaller and easier to handle.  BYOD appears to throw all of that out of the window, and promises to replace that regimented approach with chaos?  It's not quite as bad as that, and the big upside to BYOD appears to be end-user satisfaction and a feeling of involvement, rather than of 'big brother' is watching.

Usually with Enterprise Vault when considering Exchange Mailbox archiving and File System Archiving you only have to cope with testing a small handful of Operating System versions, and Office versions. Life, it seems, is not that complicated, as it's all Windows based. How hard can that be?  Some organisations still struggle with this aspect though because of the myriad of Outlook versions, upgrades that have taken place on end-user machines, and general acceptance and satisfaction can be low. Large deployments still have to cope with cultural issues, multiple languages and 'slightly different' flavours of hardware and software which has been deployed as standard, in the past.

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With BYOD you may end up with Linux clients, Apple Mac OSX clients and all types of laptop, netbook, and of course - tablet device.  All of these are wanting access to archived data, of all kinds. Secondly many of these devices and users also want the ability to be able to search, use Virtual Vault, access archived data from outside of the corporate network, and have the ability to archive and restore items. Giving people the freedom to choose their own device also often leads to a much longer list of requirements when it comes to archived data.

To many this may sound like a nightmare scenario.  Additional Enterprise Vault components are going to be needed, testing plans explode with the added complexity of all the different combinations, and pockets of users with niche requirements appear from every corner. It's time to run?!

There is a way forward.

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Enterprise Vault has many additional components that can be deployed to help with these situations. For example it can cope well with Outlook Anywhere (formerly RPC/HTTP) and it has Outlook Web Access and Outlook Web App (Mail App for Exchange 2013) components. On the File Server archiving side, third party partners have integration between the file system for OSX users and Enterprise Vault. There is even the option to have a good 'Archive Explorer' experience using ARCviewer from CommonDesk.  With a little careful investigation each of the requirements can be sized, and products that may help can be assessed and factored into the Enterprise Vault deployment.  Many of these components can be deployed after the main deployment too, which also makes life a little easier.

 And the real upside of all of this?

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The testing doesn't have to be performed by over-worked IT staff. With the change in direction of corporate policies, and the higher feeling of inclusion being pushed out to the end-user community, the community themselves can (and should) be assisting and in many cases, driving, this testing themselves.  Of course they can't be the ones which deploy and configure the components like the Outlook Web App components to support Exchange 2013..  but they can certainly be the ones to test the experience, after some initial road-testing by an in-house IT team.

One of the difficulties in this area is knowing which end-users can help, so time really needs to be spent on recording what end-users are bringing to the table in terms of technology, and software on top of it.  With this being available, and easily update-able by end-users too, then it is an easier step to comb through that list of software and hardware and identify people that can help with testing particular Enterprise Vault components which have been deployed.

Finally an area to investigate further would be a new term called COPE. It's described in this article in Windows IT Pro. With Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled device ownership of the device remains in the hands of the organisation, but personal data is permitted on the device.  This has legal and tax implications in some countries, so if you decide to go this route it will require some careful research and study.

I hope you can see from this article that BYOD doesn't mean that all your current deployment plans thoughts of the future for data archiving are thrown into disarray. Further you can see that actually a whole new approach is open to you and becomes ripe for exploration and acceptance.

Do you use either BYOD or COPE? Has it affected the types of devices which are deployed across your organisation? Have you or your organisation had to adapt the Enterprise Vault deployment options or plans at all?  Let me know in the comments below...