Ubuntu and take your device to work

This week I attended through work a presentation about Endpoint Management with a focus around the whole “bring your device to work” megatrend the experts are talking about.  In case you haven’t heard this discussion is all about allowing an end user to purchase or use their own device instead of a corporate device.  Examples given in this presentation are large New York City based banks encouraging people to use their own devices (usually a Mac) as a recruiting tool to help attract top talent.  The presentation focused on how will IT manage these devices (patch, deliver software, track inventory, etc) on a non-corporate device.  In the past someone in IT decided what version of desktop/laptop (either a Dell or an HP) and then decided on an operating system (Microsoft and still for a lot of shops XP).  Now we are seeing a growth of whatever type of device the end user wants (anyone have this at their work?).

The interesting part about the discussion was the focus on Mac and how companies are managing them.  Macs in the corporate environment are growing and growing (heck I moved to one) and companies have to figure out what to do w/ them.  Thankfully the product I consult around (Altiris Client Management Suite) has perhaps the best Mac management outside of Apple. When asked about where the expers see Linux in the corporate world the expert replied it still exists within the walls of the datacenter (whether on premises or off premises in some form of cloud) and it really doesn’t exist in the corporate desktop (at least in the US).
This is a large frustration I have with Ubuntu is that it could focus on the corporate environment and potentially increase market share but instead chooses to focus on TVs and potentially mobile devices.  Canonical could partner with the various Endpoint Management software vendors (Microsoft, IBM, CA, Symantec, Dell, etc.) to support Ubuntu.
When I show up w/ my own laptop running Ubuntu there are certain things I’m required to have or report on including up to date with patches, has up to date antivirus and definitions and is able to be managed by the corporate management solution.  So Canonical, fire up those partnership agreements or whatever is needed and get your operating system supported by more vendors so the corporate desktop market share can grow

8 thoughts on “Ubuntu and take your device to work

  1. The heart of “bring your device to work” is that the consumer market is dictating the corporate market. From that view point, it makes more sense for Canonical to target TV, pocket / tablet devices, and home users than explicit corporate partnerships.

  2. I’m sorry, but after being forced to work with Altiris at the previous job for two years, I’d say it’s the product that is totally unsuitable to manage Linux (and Macs). The features just ain’t there, it’s buggy as hell etc.

    • I agree that in previous versions of Altiris it was pretty terrible to manage non-Windows and the product was ugly to manage these devices. A year or ago Symantec/Altiris made a key decision to make Linux and Mac core, whatever works on Windows should also work on Mac/Linux. An example is the ability to use pcAnywhere to remote control a Windows/Mac/Linux device.

      Give it a try or drop me a note for a discussion/demo

    • Yes I have heard of Landscape, and will be addressing it in a future response, but requiring yet another management solution to manage these devices just aint gonna happen. Landscape is probably great for managing Ubuntu devices but not cross platform, even cross platform Linux (Debian, Red Hat, SUSE). I need a management tool that can manage Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.

  3. I’ve been bringing my own device to work for years, years now and that’s what i mostly use. I might not boot up my work-computer for a week.

    Another, similar megatrend to BYOD is “shadow-IT”.

    My devices of choice are Asus EeePC 901 + bleeding edge Ubuntu, and iPhone4S. My strategy abt my employers IT management is to not tell them a word about how naughty i am🙂

    • mace,

      “shadow IT” is probably a worse thing to have than actually having your device approved to be used. Question I would ask is does your company’s security policy allow for personal devices to be connected to the corporate network? From the post it seems so. I would be more concerned about being allowed to put anything on the network and then access whatever files/services/systems I need to.
      My Macbook Air is allowed to be on the corporate network because I run the corporate AV and up to date. Then I can access the corporate network. My phone is only allowed to access the guest wireless if I want to, instead of cell connection. Also by connecting my phone to corporate exchange I allow for my phone to be remote wiped.

      Shadow IT is a pretty dangerous way of loosing all kinds of data from your company. Who knows what type of data is stored on your personal machine or whether or not the machine is up to date the introducing vulnerabilities into the network?

      • Hi. At work i connect to the public wifi we are offering, not our internal network. I’m adamant our security policy – i hope we have one – disapproves my behaviour. I take care to not move sensitive data out in the open of course. Our vulnerable data, most importantly our user database is not transferred in the open.

        I don’t have my devices checked up by our IT-folks, of course. These devices are mine, all mine😀 I work in a project which doesn’t deal which sensitive data… well we have a handful on sensitive data items, but i don’t move them around, besides i personally think it’s bad for everyone that this data is not more publicly available… but for my main work, i don’t deal with our sensitive data.

        Then… there’s email which i connect to with my own devices of course. That definetely could be a little bit sensitive, if we had anything really sensitive in the first place.

        I agree shadow-IT is frightening. Everyone is doing it, and it’s a wild wild west out there as real-IT is serious failing to provide value to the employees by offering sub-par quality products. Not all systems of ours have better alternatives “out there”, luckily.

        For system security and integrity…. i’m on bleeding edge (quite literally, on a bad day) Ubuntu 12.04, and i do the sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -dance many times a day.

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