Personal Cloud vs BYOD

On 21 January 2013 by Pete Petersen
Personal Cloud

Image source: http://www.reeltech.net/?p=165

In the quest for a set of policies and “right thinking” while trying to tackle Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the personal cloud (such as Google Docs, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, iCloud, etc.) present challenges to the corporate security folks. Indeed, Ken Hess feels it could be the death of BYOD in many organizations. Contrarily, Gartner reports that Personal Cloud Will Replace the Personal Computer By 2014.

In a VDI implementation, enabling users to get to their data is critical. This data falls into the following categories:

  • User data, such as Word and Excel files, text, graphics, pictures, presentations, etc.
  • Application data, such as data that resides in a central SQL or Oracle database, or on a file share or application server.
  • Profile data, or persona information that includes user settings and other important application configurations.

Your on-premise VDI solution should include all of these. There is no doubt that taking care of all of these types of data, ensuring that the VDI session is well-connected to each type of data, and that applications are tuned to that environment, will ensure happy and productive users.

But what about a hosted VDI solution? That poses a different problem. If the VDI session is hosted, then what to do about the data? Profile data can–and should–be a part of the solution. User data is one of the more thorny parts. Many hosting providers don’t want to be in charge of your users’ data. And bridging back to the organization’s network from long-range access to User data can impact the performance of the whole solution.

One important thing to remember is that in order to enable users and help them be as productive as possible–which is the primary goal of any implementation–and keeping the data that the users produce and access secure, are what drive many to a cloud-hosted solution for the data. Dropbox, as an example, is dead-simple to use, but it has security issues by the nature of how the service was developed. Others can be less intuitive to utilize.

What’s the solution for user data? Bake it in. Instead of allowing–even causing–users to bring their own cloud solution, provide one. A secure one. And bake it into your VDI solution. Even if it’s on-premise, or if it’s cloud-hosted, your VDI solution can include solutions like Box, Google Drive, and others that can pass your security and audit requirements.

Application data is a little more clear-cut. Either keep in on-premise and bridge back to it (thus incurring a possible performance price, but keeping it secure and under your security policies), or have it hosted (and causing your hosting provider to join you during your audit processes, but keeping performance for the user the best it can be).

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