Butler Group Urges Enterprises to Adopt Approach

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<p><strong>London &mdash; Oct. 3</strong><br /> Butler Group, a European IT research and advisory organization, thinks the importance of providing key applications to remote workers and of extending business processes to distributed locations either through fixed or wireless communication technologies cannot be overstated. </p><p>The report &ldquo;Application Delivery &ndash; Creating a Flexible, Service-centric Network Architecture&rdquo; identifies that application delivery to the extended enterprise allows organizations to improve processes and presents an opportunity for innovation within organizations, offering new freedoms that eventually will change the way companies interact with customers, partners and employees.<br /> <br />&ldquo;The effect of changing social patterns on business models cannot be ignored, with more and more of the workforce now based away from head office,” said Mark Blowers senior reseach analyst and study co-author. “A growing proportion of the workforce is also becoming more mobile, meaning that organizations must cater for them in corporate and IT strategies. The expectation is that it will be possible to work remotely, roam freely and be able to use any type of device.</p><p>&ldquo;However, there is an increased business risk to this freedom, with the main issues being the security of information outside the confines of the office and the ability to effectively manage the wider environment.&rdquo; <br /> <br />The performance of remote services and optimization of application delivery are key issues for IT managers.<br /> <br />Managing connections for the entire workforce, especially mobile workers in the field, can prove a complex task. With users connecting via a wide range of fixed and wireless networks, ensuring seamless connectivity while also controlling costs can be a headache. </p><p>Session persistence, airtime management and roaming between wireless networks are also a part of this responsibility. </p><p>In addition, both fixed and wireless networks need to be administered as a single entity.<br /> <br />Many remotely accessed applications are mission-critical but face issues with centralization, poor performance, reliability and security. </p><p>The IT department must deploy the means to measure and then implement tactical and strategic mechanisms to improve the performance for remote users. </p><p>With the wide area network (WAN) optimization solutions available today, a major barrier to consolidation is removed through the significant improvement in application performance at remote locations. </p><p>It is recommended that organizations with branch offices must look at trialling a WAN optimization solution.<br /> <br />&ldquo;Management is a key component in an application delivery architecture where policies drive availability, and visibility moves from individual point solutions to being systemwide, along with the shift from fixed asset administration to dynamic asset utilization,&rdquo; Blowers said. &ldquo;A cornerstone for the provision of multi-modal channels is the ability to deliver intelligent central management, enabling efficient use of the available resources. The accessibility of end-to-end quality of service (QoS) supporting data, voice and multimedia, is an important first step in the evolution to an automated solution.&rdquo;<br /> <br />Security is a key concern, although it should not be a barrier to the adoption of more flexible working practices.<br /> <br />A Datamonitor survey of 500 IT decision makers (May 2007) identified many factors as the primary inhibitors to investment in mobile technologies. </p><p>Security is still perceived to be an issue, despite vendors&rsquo; claims that it is not a problem. Enterprises still list security concerns as the top inhibitor, with the scares of Internet breaches and data leakage causing enterprises to be cautious when considering or deploying mobility solutions. </p><p>This might also be due to a lack of understanding of security technologies.<br /> <br />With more organizations choosing to incorporate flexible user access facilities, including the use of local and remote wireless network approaches, there is a need to understand the associated risks, as well as the benefits, that should be taken into account when considering such a strategy. </p><p>The risks include data loss and data leakage, eavesdropping on transmissions, the ability of third parties to intercept wireless communications, the lack of central control and reduced connection controls.<br /> <br />&ldquo;Customers, employees, business partners, suppliers and contractors need to be properly and adequately protected each time they access applications,” Blowers said. “Within this context, there is a requirement for operational security solutions that have the scalability to deal with high-volume access requests, are comprehensive enough to handle all different levels of user and systems protection demands and still retain the functional granularity that is needed to deal with each user as an individual when assessing their security status.&rdquo;</p>

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