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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: BYOD and Data Center Modernization by Scott Kitlinski, Akibia

October 2, 2012 No Comments

There is no question that the modern day working model would be very different without the evolution of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). But, along with the many benefits BYOD can offer, come risks.

In the below interview, Scott Kitlinski from Akibia describes the impacts associated with data center modernization, and how taking a “holistic” approach can help companies safely maximize the benefits of BYOD today.

    Q. How do you see the evolution of BYOD and remote working as affecting enterprises today?

A. While remote working has evolved and continues to expand, BYOD borders on a revolution. In both cases, people are stretching the bounds of the traditional work environment.  If we think about smart phones and tablets in particular, people have a level of attachment to these devices that is less about the device itself and more about the device as an extension of the individual.  This is fueled in part by the device’s level of personalization and the many social media tools available.

The challenge faced by many IT organizations is that they are not prepared for the implications of these devices.  They stress the boundaries of security, application delivery, infrastructure readiness and device management.  Akibia is engaging with customers to help them shift gears from a reactive view to instead establishing BYOD programs.  This starts with policies and processes and then moves into addressing the specific IT components.  Until organizations shift into this proactive posture they will be challenged.

These are critical issues to maintain competitiveness in terms of capability.  And, they are also becoming significant issues impacting organizations’ ability to attract and retain talent from a pool that has new expectations of the workplace.

    Q. In your opinion, how important is it to take a holistic approach to helping companies maximize the benefits of BYOD?

A. BYOD does not just represent a technology shift; it represents a shift in how users work, and this has been coming for some time. The advent of the tablet accelerated this change by creating a higher level of empowerment for the individual.  We encourage our clients not to think about devices as the end point anymore, but to think of the individual as the end point.

This shift in view will cut across today’s and tomorrow’s disruptive technologies..  Fundamental to this view is that when we think about security, we still need to think about policies, processes and technologies, but we also need to educate the end user.  This is not a one-time touch point training.  Instead, organizations need to drive a culture of security which can only come through creating understanding of organizational risk and individual responsibility.

    Q. Within this context, what is your take on the risk vs. compliance issue when it comes to security?

A. The risks associated with BYOD are closely related to those for remote and mobile workers.  Historically, because of the relatively small size of the mobile and remote workforce in relation to the organization as a whole, proper risk mitigation and security has been lacking because the risk profile wasn’t sufficient to warrant budget and/or resources.  With BYOD, the risk profile increases in size. Therefore, mitigation and security have the potential to be addressed appropriately and budget and resources can be aligned in a way that will actually benefit the organization as a whole.

    Q. What impact has data center modernization had on IT, and how can Akibia help companies relieve some of the pressure associated with employees working “around the clock”?

A. We are not even sure “data center modernization” is the correct phrase anymore because it tends to refer to places or series of places within the organizational domain.  Regardless of their size, the question weighing on most of our clients is “how do I best meet the organization’s computing needs anytime, anyplace, from any device.”  The focus is on the most efficient, effective ways to get critical data into the hands of their workforce when it’s needed. This is causing a shift in thinking toward a portfolio approach where many organizations are looking at developing detailed service catalogues.  Once they define their services clearly they are challenged to determine which services they should deliver directly and which they should broker via outside providers.  These could be XaaS providers or true cloud providers.  In either case, the approaches vary greatly from organization to organization based on their business context.

Companies of all sizes are challenged by budgets and the ability to attract and retain staff.  In addition, more and more companies are becoming 24×7.  Akibia has operations worldwide, and while mature in processes and services, we are not stuck in a model where we can only provide services one way.  Our clients value that we are able to quickly develop models that meet their unique needs.

We have clients who outsource complete functions to Akibia because that meets the needs of their organizations.  Other customers rely on us to handle what have become off-hour functions while their staff is there to support their traditional business hours.  The key for Akibia is to understand our customers’ business needs and then to work through the resulting IT requirements to determine how we can best enable their success.  This is a new conversation for many organizations, but conducted in a logical and thoughtful manner, we can quickly create outcomes our clients did not think were available.

Scott Kitlinski– Vice President, Global Practices, Akibia

Scott KitlinskiAs Vice President, Global Practices, Scott is responsible for Akibia’s Data Center and Security & Compliance practices globally. As a thought-leader, he is charged with driving the growth and expansion of Akibia’s key practice areas by bringing innovative, high value IT solutions to the marketplace.  He joined the organization in 2010 as the Director of Professional Services and was promoted to VP of Global Practices due to his strategic vision and over 20 years of experience in senior IT management including strategic planning and business alignment, operations management, and outsourcing.

Before joining Akibia, Scott was a Partner in Unisys’ Global Infrastructure Services practice, a result of the company’s acquisition of ePresence, Inc.  He successfully drove the integration of the two companies to leverage the strengths of the two diverse organizations.  He was also a Director at Gartner, VP and CIO for Digitas and Director of Consulting Services and Strategic Sourcing Services for Stream International.

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