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Windows 8 in the enterprise: Fragmentation and deployment

  1. #1


    Posts : 22,581
    64-bit Windows 10

    Windows 8 in the enterprise: Fragmentation and deployment


    The more information that comes to light about Windows 8, the more the dreaded "F" word comes to mind. When you think of fragmentation in the mobile space the first thing you think of is the Android platform. Volumes have been written about the forks in Android that are enough to drive enterprises batty. So many versions, so many different devices to support, it's enough to give fits to IT folks tasked with making BYOD work.

    The fragmentation issue should be a big factor driving the enterprise to Windows 8. Having a single business OS to deal with is an advantage not to be overlooked. The problem is that Microsoft in its desire to have Windows 8 run on both tablets and PCs has created a fork in the platform that complicates support by the enterprise.

    There are two versions of Windows 8, the standard version for running on the Intel platform and the RT version for ARM-based devices like some tablets. Both versions have pros and cons that must be considered by the enterprise in determining which one to deploy. If employees are allowed to bring their own Windows gear to work, BYOD will likely see a collection of devices in the office running both versions of Windows 8.


    Read more at source:
    Windows 8 in the enterprise: Fragmentation and deployment | ZDNet

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  2. #2


    Excellent point there.

    Most likely we'll see limits on what an enterprise supports. "BYOD" might have to be clarified to mean "here's what you can choose from ... we cannot guarantee that we'll support anything else."
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  3. #3


    This whole concept of "BYOD" to me just screams, bad idea. I'm just baffled at how quickly companies went from strictly enforcing what employees were given, ensuring they have security measures in place, etc...to allowing an employee to bring their own personal equipment in to attempt to perform their job.

    When i first started working in IT, we had a strict policy that you didn't even dare bring in a home PC and connect it to the network. If you did, and caused an issue, you faced repurcussions, if not termination.

    Today, because of "cool" "hipster" uber popular personal devices, we are saying, "well, we cannot protect it, we cannot ensure that company secrets get leaked from it, we cannot remotely wipe if to protect sensitive company data...but who really cares because it looks so cool and includes an 8MP camera.

    I cannot wait for the first call that says "Hey John can't access our CRM on his Samsung Galaxy Tab". I would be like, "yeah, and I cannot get it on my PS3 either, what was the question again?"

    So, other than being an old-timer fuddy-duddy..what are my concerns
    1). Virsues and malware
    2). Wi-fi hotspots circumventing proxy servers and web loggers
    3). Copyright material violations..who is responsible, the employee or the company
    4). Pornography on the device (again, it's the employees personal device...can we demand they don't use it for porn?)
    5). Ease of carrying tons of company information right out the door, probably unencrypted
    6). What about password policies....do these employees have to comply with any standards on their personal devices.


    Lots of concerns. Don't see the benefit or advantage to BYOD.
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  4. #4


    Good to be concerned, but if it's anything like the change that's happened in construction it may be a new trend in these economic times of cut backs.

    It used to be that a tradesman brings his own hand tools and the company supplied power tools needed. Not any more. Bring everything you need to get the job done. It's a way to cut back and pass the buck.

    Another issue is insurance and law suits. "We didn't own that saw that cut your fingers off!"

    I once had a project on a home for a guy that owned a huge plumbing contracting business back in the early 80's. Big enough to take on work at a naval base and Chicago high rises. I'd say about 300 employees. He told me that $5,000 a month in tools walked out the door or became unrepairable. Then he had two men that worked the tool shop repairing tools and trying to keep tract of who signed out what. All before PCs mind you. Of course some were fired if they reported too many tools stolen. He told me that "You can't fire them all", so accept it for what it is and write it off. Expensive department indeed.

    If I were IT I surely wouldn't vote for it, but if BYOD gets to be trendy, I'd say there will have to be some kind of strict policy set.
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  5. #5


    If a company is going to cut back so much that they have to have employees bring in their own computers, tablets, or other device to actually do their job...perhaps it's time to consider whether the business should still be around. I can see situations where say an employee has a desktop computer, but "likes" having a tablet for going to meetings and taking notes. If that person chooses to bring in their own tablet and take notes on it, I don't have an issue with that. But to say that a finger has to get lifted by the IT group to get an internal app to run on it is just taking things way too far.

    I mean, are we going to soon start charging back for the electricity and heating bills in each paycheck to cover the portion of the electricity used by me to complete the job with my own equipment.
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  6. #6


    Adelaide
    Posts : 1,338
    Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Linux Mint 17.1 MATE (64 bit)

    BYOD


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    This whole concept of "BYOD" to me just screams, bad idea. I'm just baffled at how quickly companies went from strictly enforcing what employees were given, ensuring they have security measures in place, etc...to allowing an employee to bring their own personal equipment in to attempt to perform their job.

    ...

    So, other than being an old-timer fuddy-duddy..what are my concerns
    1). Virsues and malware
    2). Wi-fi hotspots circumventing proxy servers and web loggers
    3). Copyright material violations..who is responsible, the employee or the company
    4). Pornography on the device (again, it's the employees personal device...can we demand they don't use it for porn?)
    5). Ease of carrying tons of company information right out the door, probably unencrypted
    6). What about password policies....do these employees have to comply with any standards on their personal devices.


    Lots of concerns. Don't see the benefit or advantage to BYOD.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    If a company is going to cut back so much that they have to have employees bring in their own computers, tablets, or other device to actually do their job...perhaps it's time to consider whether the business should still be around. I can see situations where say an employee has a desktop computer, but "likes" having a tablet for going to meetings and taking notes. If that person chooses to bring in their own tablet and take notes on it, I don't have an issue with that. But to say that a finger has to get lifted by the IT group to get an internal app to run on it is just taking things way too far.

    I mean, are we going to soon start charging back for the electricity and heating bills in each paycheck to cover the portion of the electricity used by me to complete the job with my own equipment.
    You've "hit the nail on the head".

    I've always believed that "shifting costs to the employees" is the real reason for BYOD.
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  7. #7


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    There are concerns about BYOD scenarios. One scenario comes to mind is here locally with out schools. In Idaho, the state passed some laws that issue laptops to students so ebooks can be used instead of traditional texts and can have updated content, or teachers can highlight certain parts of the content needed for the course. Good idea in theory, costly in practice. If kids can't take care of their textbooks properly, what says they can with a 700 dollar laptop that has a hard drive. I know a few teachers that have told me that the schools are buying laptops over desktops, and already in one year, about six out of 90 laptops needed hard drives replaced. Long term costs.

    The same can be said of the enterprise. Windows 7 is finally the dominant OS used over xp, you'll see more businesses using Windows 7 and still some using xp. Benefits of BYOD in that scenario is: Office 2010 and 2013 support, IE 9 and 10, OS support in general, not having to deal with crap computers that seem to be prone to malware, personal data is kept personal, and the software that the user finds more suitable for them can be used over what they don't. The user can buy a laptop, or in this case a tablet PC, to take to work and use it at home, have work files readily available and won't need to remember to email themselves updated copies (SkyDrive can be used here as well), and overall the device has more added purpose than just simple things at home or the occasional offsite work.

    Realistically, businesses won't replace their computers or hardware UNLESS if they don't work anymore. If a machine can be used for three more years past a good usable life, then that is what will generally happen. No need to replace what already works. But to the end user working at that business, it can definitely cause frustrations as the user will end up using elder software than what they're used to, they don't have the privacy that they have as a random IT guy can literally snoop through everything you have, and the end user might and can be burdened with system wide updates that cause issues as some users might have things installed that others don't, networking issues can arise especially if the business uses a local server to host user files onto thus creating productivity drops.


    Now that's what happens when businesses don't keep very up to date with software or hardware, and that is what usually causes a BYOD situation because the user will usually proactively decide that their laptop would be FAR better to use than their work computer.

    I find that if the user has porno on their device, so be it. It's the same if the construction work had smut in their toolbox. No one really needs to know, no one is asking. And as for the wifi hotspots, I know some friends whose younger siblings use 4G hotspots on a modem or on their phone to circumvent their school's internet filtering. Why? Overly aggressive filtering of the internet. Some schools don't filter as much as the next, which makes me wonder why. I get why they would filter porn and even social networking, but blocking YouTube, Bing, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and anything else that isn't a proper google service or is even remotely potentially unsafe, don't get that. That could be the reason why to have a wifi hotspot with a BYOD as the business filters too aggressively. If you can't totally block something altogether, then putting effort and resource into futile attempts at such doesn't make sense. Again, smut I understand, maybe social networking, but even then the user's smartphone or hotspot can circumvent that. You can't stop it. And I don't think I've ever heard anyone taking smut breaks on their phone.

    For sensitive corporate data, that's why we have technology! Bitlocker is literally the best way to encrypt data. In Windows 8 (along with 7) and Windows Phone 8, Bitlocker should be used and promoted to keep sensitive data locked up. There is the chance of leaks that way--the user would have to voluntarily leak the information--but probably not more than without such.


    And with viruses and malware, Windows 8 devices for the BYOD situation shines over 7 in that sense. Built in anti-virus and multiple layers of security makes it a step higher than 7 in terms of security. The IT department can be used to counteract malware and viruses on peoples' personal devices as they would if the device was the companies. Again, promote the practice of staying safe on the line, one might definitely see a lower rate of malware altogether, especially if IE 10 along with everything else in use.


    I like Hippsie's analogy of bringing your own tools to the job site over the company issuing them. Your tools might be better, the company's tools can get stolen or damaged, and overall, going from point A to point B is achieved in the same or better fashion.
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  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    I find that if the user has porno on their device, so be it. It's the same if the construction work had smut in their toolbox.
    Yes, but in this day and age where people are lawsuit happy, if the porno is opened up in the office, and a coworker sees it and is offended, it's possible for the employee to file a lawsuit against the employer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    That could be the reason why to have a wifi hotspot with a BYOD as the business filters too aggressively.
    But if the company is filtering, they are doing it for some type of reason. Honestly, if you work for an employer and you don't like work policies and such, willingly circumventing them is grounds for termination. If you feel your employer filters too agressively, then you should find a new employer....not take measures into your own hands to work around some established system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    For sensitive corporate data, that's why we have technology! Bitlocker is literally the best way to encrypt data. In Windows 8 (along with 7) and Windows Phone 8, Bitlocker should be used and promoted to keep sensitive data locked up.
    Prior to Windows 8, bitlocker was only available in the enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows...which many people don't have for their own personal use. And when it's BYOD, how can you ensure, or mandate or force an employee to run something like Bitlocker if they don't want to. It's their own personal device after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    And with viruses and malware, Windows 8 devices for the BYOD situation shines over 7 in that sense. Built in anti-virus and multiple layers of security makes it a step higher than 7 in terms of security. The IT department can be used to counteract malware and viruses on peoples' personal devices as they would if the device was the companies. Again, promote the practice of staying safe on the line, one might definitely see a lower rate of malware altogether, especially if IE 10 along with everything else in use.
    Yeah, but without standardization in the enterprise, you have no idea what you might run into. Let's say 4 out of 15 employees have McAfee and one morning they start having issues with their computers. Turns out a bad McAfee definition file caused high CPU usage....these occasional bad AV def files come out from time to time. When your AV is centrally maintained and controlled, everybody would have the same issue and the admin can go to the server, rollback to the previous version, hit a button to push it out and now everybody is corrected. With the BYOD model, you would potentially have people who are on all different configurations, and some people who will have done something silly and turned everything off because they found something a bit inconvenient. It's a risk that I would rather not take. There is a lot of other stuff in the IT world to take up all of my time, without having to troubleshoot a potential setup or configuration that I know nothing about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    I like Hippsie's analogy of bringing your own tools to the job site over the company issuing them. Your tools might be better, the company's tools can get stolen or damaged, and overall, going from point A to point B is achieved in the same or better fashion.
    The tool analogy is interesting, but I think flawed in it's application here. An employee owned hammer or screwdriver isn't going to impact other workers or systems. A personal use hammer won't dictate a help desk ticket because it's deemed incompatible with a corporate nail. A torque wrench infected with a virus isn't going to spread that virus to all of the other wrenches on the job site.

    Some employee hardware I have no issues with. For example, I bring in my own keyboard and mouse. I elect to use a Microsoft Trackball Explorer. They don't sell these anymore, so I cannot get the company to buy one. But I happen to have one from home that I am not using. These devices cannot inflict any damage or risk to the network or environment as a whole, so the only risk I have to assume is that IF they were to be stolen from my desk....the company would not be held accountable for replacing them as they weren't company provided.

    *Note: As an exception to my above statement, I choose to use a mechanical keyboard with MX Cherry blue switches. It's rather loud and noisy. Even though I love it, and typing on it is a pure joy and delight, bringing that device into work and using it because it's better than my work model would drive the rest of my coworkers nuts. So, even though a keyboard would generally be acceptable, not in all cases.

    As a side note, I used to work in a company who provided desk chairs that a lot of employees didn't particularly like. So, a few employees decided to bring in their own leather desk chairs to work from. It didn't take long at all for a visit from HR saying they needed to take their own chairs home. The company was unwililng to accept the potential legal and insurance issues arising from either 1). theft of the chair or 2). injury while on the job from using it.

    BYOD is just not a simple and easy concept.

    Edit: And what about non-legitimate non-licensed software that an employee might have installed on their own device? In the event they use this software for business use and the company is audited, who is on the hook for that one? Does the company get a free pass because it's not their device.

    And what about a situation where an employee may not own a particular piece of software on their own personal computer? At my company, we have an enterprise agreement with MS which gives us the ability to run windows client os's as well as office on a certain number of company assets. These agreements don't extend to sending copies home for employees on their home computers. Are these employees simply required to pay for these products out of pocket when they elect to use their own equipment?
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  9. #9


    I'd like to clear up something here. I didn't, don't today, nor ever will agree to BOYOPowerTools to work. Nor do I or will I agree with BYOD.

    #1 BYOPTools is due to the housing crunch caused by greedy mortgage lenders and banks IMO. In return, builders and contractors needed to cut back to be competitive. They passed the problem onto the tradesmen who basically had to take cuts in wages to keep or get a job. Now the expense of power tools. This is what I would call a DEPRESSION in our industry. This is no Fn RESESSION as they call it! It was caused by greed, plain and simple. Nothing gets my goat more that this topic, as you may see! The working man or woman is no longer protected as in the past.

    I'm down to three employees -> Me -> Myself -> and I. I occasionally hire someone on bigger jobs if I get one. I supply power tools. The trouble is that there's no money in the bigger jobs for they beat us down to rock bottom bids. Better off with the cosmetic remodeling like paint this, fix that, fence here, roof this, etc. I'm close to retirement and don't need the headaches.

    #2 I totally agree with Parks on the BYOD. It gets too complicated. It's also taking advantage of employees, whether the employee likes it or not. Toe the line and do it the company's way -> or we'll find someone else who is willing. It's about making profit in the most efficient way.

    LQQK at the time! Gotta go to work!
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  10. #10


    BYOD cannot work without limits, if implemented at all. IT simply cannot support each and every wifi-enabled device out there.

    I think we're more likley to wind up coming full circle back to thin client devices connected to corporate terminal servers or gateways. The biggest drawbacks are performance and graphics capability, so in cases where detailed, mutliu-monitor diaplys are required or screaming fast performance is necessary, there may still have to be dedicated computing devices, not just thin clients.

    As I said before, the development of standards is key to any program like this. It's a major shift in direction, and not many people are going to want their employer telling them what software they are or are not allowed to use on their personal devices. I wouldn't want that, certainly. If the company wants to buy me a laptop for office use, and they give me a list of systems from which I can choose, fine. Asking me to buy my own laptop for use at the office, and then restricting what I can do with it outside the office, is ridiculous.
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