Cisco helps users welcome BYOD

Rolls out new and enhanced software to manage, optimize personal device at work

Cisco is taking this BYOD thing seriously. The company this week unveiled new and enhanced products designed to specifically manage yet optimize a workplace for employees plugging in their own personal devices.

Cisco enhanced its Identity Services Engine (ISE) policy manager and wireless LAN software, and rolled out two new management applications to help enterprises support BYOD. It might also help them attain the best and brightest - Cisco studies have concluded that 40%+ of college students and young employees would give up a chunk of their compensation just to plug in their iPersonal Device at work.

The extensions in ISE 1.1MR are designed to deliver unified policy management across wired, WLAN, cellular and VPN access. The software allows users to self-provision devices with appropriate access and service policies, and mobile management capabilities. IT defines ISE policies to manage devices and control endpoint access, and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices. Policies are set and enforced based on device, users' roles, applications, and posture information, and users can then self-provision activation at a time convenient to them... and perhaps always inconvenient to IT.

To help reassure IT, Cisco said it is working with several mobile device management (MDM) vendors, including AirWatch, Good Technology, MobileIron and Zenprise, to add their software to ISE. And for users, Cisco hopes the self-provisioning aspect will keep them from trying to break IT access policies - Cisco's internal studies have found that 70% of employees worldwide admit that they break IT policies, with 20% of them citing the need to access unauthorized programs and applications to get their job done.

For the user experience, Cisco rolled out Unified Wireless Network Software 7.2. This update doubles multicast video scalability, enables a single Cisco controller to support 3,000 access points and 30,000 devices, and adds IPv6 client support. Cisco says 7.2 will also add real-time video to its WebEx and Jabber collaboration applications on a Cisco network, and allow users to tune into company video events on the device and location of their choice.  

The manage all of this freedom, Cisco introduced Prime Assurance Manager 1.1, which is designed to provide comprehensive visibility into application performance across wired/wireless networks and end devices. IT can decipher and track the user's application performance, spot the location of a performance problem and quickly correct it, Cisco says.

Another new application, Prime Infrastructure 1.1, is intended to deliver lifecycle management across the wired/wireless infrastructure down to the individual branch. It's designed to be a single package for planning, deployment and on-going management of the Cisco BYOD infrastructure.

The new Prime applications and 7.2 of Unified Wireless Network Software are available now. ISE 1.1MR will be available this summer; MDM integration by the end of the year.

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