Aruba Networks touts mobility management platform

Networking vendor says virtual management tool addresses mobility needs in region as more Asian companies establish satellite offices regionally and employees bring consumer devices into enterprise space.

SINGAPORE--More companies in the region are looking to implement mobility strategies within the organization, fueled by the emergence of new satellite offices around the region and the changing PC landscape that has seen the rise of smartphones and Apple's iPad slate device in the enterprise realm.

Aruba Networks is one vendor that is looking to tap this growth with its Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) architecture. Bobby Guhasarkar, the networking vendor's senior director of product marketing, said the platform is designed to support mobility beyond simply allowing smartphones and other mobile devices to be connected to a wireless hotspot. It creates remote access points for easy deployment across multiple countries and that is simple enough for non-IT employees to roll out, he added.

Speaking at a media briefing here Tuesday, Guhasarkar said this is particularly relevant in Asia where Aruba is seeing a growing trend among companies to open up small, regional satellite offices in markets that have varying IT expertise.

"With satellite offices of fewer than 10 employees, for example, it is important that their wireless network deployment be as easy to roll out as possible," he said. He pointed to the vendor's remote access points which can deployed by plugging the device into an Internet point and clicking on the URL link of the main controller housed in the company's headquarters. Preset parameters determined by the IT administrator can be downloaded automatically into the access point, he added.

Lillian Tay, principal analyst for client computing markets at Gartner, agreed with Guhasarkar's observation that more Asian companies are setting up satellite offices in the region. However, compared with their American counterparts, the need for employees to go into the office rather than perform their tasks as mobile workers remains strong in Asia, said Tay, who attended the briefing. The research firm does not have statistics to support this observation, though.

Changing client landscape
A key component of the MOVE architecture is the company's host of ArubaOS mobility services, including ArubaOS 6.1 which is touted to help companies achieve mobility. Described to offer "the industry's first mobile device fingerprinting" capabilities, Guhasarkar said ArubaOS 6.1 is a context-based mobile device access control that allows companies to automate their identification and authorization process for Apple's iOS devices to access their internal networks.

He added that with the iPad's "significant" adoption rate as well as the popularity of the iPhone, it makes sense for the company to focus its products on iOS devices.

Google's Android platform is next in line and MOVE support on these devices will be made available in third quarter, he said. Despite device fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, the company is working with HTC and Samsung to make their devices compliant with Aruba's access control tool, he revealed.

Wee Keng Tong, a technical consultant at Aruba who was also at the briefing, added that this tool will help IT departments be more amiable toward allowing consumer devices into the enterprise space.

Wee noted that previously, IT staff would reject employees' desire to use their multiple personal devices to access the company's network as this would mean committing more manpower and resources to support such provisions. With ArubaOS 6.1, the registration of devices to a single server base, as well as the "pushing" of authorization certificates, are now automated and consolidated under one single management system, he explained.

Aruba CEO Dominic Orr summed up in a press release: "In a world where users are always on the move and utilizing more than one device, the need to manage and secure user access based on who they are, not where they are, is critical."