Distributor launches BYOD as a service offering for channel partners

Value-added distributor Westcon Group is looking to help partners demystify the bring your own device (BYOD) trend with a cloud-based BYOD subscription offering developed with two key vendor partners.

The cloud-based subscription offering, called BYODShield, was developed by Westcon in partnership with IP address management vendor BlueCat Networks and mobile device management vendor Fiberlink. It combines the technology of the two vendors and the service and support expertise of Westcon.

The hosted solution offers network access management and security, mobile application management and mobile device management, designed to secure whatever devices may come onto the network with network protection, secure application access and secure self-service device onboarding. Fibrelink’s MaaS360 offering is also integrated for enterprise mobility management through the cloud.

With more and more employees using their personal devices for work, it’s creating challenges for the IT department that it hasn’t seen before said Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, senior vice-president of North America for Weston. The network perimeter is moving from the desktop to wherever the device is, and companies need BYOD policies and controls that are device agnostic. BYOD is also a security threat, with web-accessible employee devices containing programs such as Dropbox that cab be a weakpoint to access the corporate network.

Despite the challenges, there are cost and productivity benefits for the enterprise, so the trend can’t be ignored. And Smurthwaite-Murphy said if the channel can find a solution for these challenges there is plenty of opportunity for success.

“This is beyond a relationship and marketing announcement,” said Smurthwaite-Murphy. “We took these two industry-leading vendors, added our services to it, and offer our reference architecture to solve this pain point in a single SKU.”

Smurthwaite-Murphy notes it’s not a simple packaging of solutions from two different vendors. Rather, they’ve been re-architected to work together and communicate back and forth, for an added layer of security.

“We’ve spent a lot of time getting ready, and we think we’re breaking new ground here taking solutions to the next level by integrating code,” she said. “This is a role for distribution going forward.”

She promises “very healthy margins” for partners based on their reseller status, as well as the ability to create an annuity revenue stream and begin to build a cloud business. The partner will handle the billing and own the customer relationship.

“It’s a perfect fit for resellers, whether in Canada or the U.S.,” said Smurthwaite-Murphy. “BYOD is like a Trojan horse. You go in with security, but you need to make sure you have enough wired and wireless capacity as well, internet access, the firewall has to have the right capabilities … there’s lots of opportunity for resellers to help end users.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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