Enabling the Digital Workspace

Enabling the Digital Workspace

Last month I attended the Enabling the Digital Workspace event by VMware and AirWatch in London. This is my summary and personal thoughts on the day.

The event was presented by:

  • Ian Evans Vice President End User Computing.
  • Dor Zakai Director Sales Engineering EUC.
  • Thibaut Bellon Manager Systems Engineering AirWatch.

Keynote: Digital Workspace Vision

The Keynote on Digital Workspace Vision was presented by Ian Evans Vice President End User Computing.

I suspose the first question is What is digital workspace? well the digital workspace is all about convergence so watch this quick 90 second video for a overview.

Ian took us on a journey on how much the mobile market has changed over the last few years now that AirWatch is now 5 years old.

In the beginning we had blackberry and I will say now that Im a blackberry lover in the world of mobile email. But back then we used to give people a blackberry, turn off the Camera, WIFI, Bluetooth, Instant messaging all in the name of security and here we are some 7 years or so later and that is now basically unacceptable for any user to palate let alone an IT department offer to a user.

An interesting statistic Ian gave us was that 60% of employees would prefer to use a personal device for work and play, so BYOD is here to stay, Again I’m still old school and I like the separation of my personal device and a work device so when I get home I leave the work device where it won’t bother me. (I will say that this goes for my personal device as well given I have hardly any mobile signal where I live) maybe if I had better coverage I would change my behaviour.

This statistic can be further broken down in that 69% of companies have adopted BYOD (as my own has) but worse 30% of employees use their own devices despite company policy not allowing this. So if you’re the kind of organisation who doesn’t have a BYOD strategy then you might need to see what your users are doing. So Security is no longer just about lockdown and disable but how do I enable and how do I protect.

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Discover VMware AirWatch: Enterprise Mobility Redefined

Next up was Dor Zakai Director Sales engineering EUC and he took us through a number of benefits of AirWatch now I’ve seen Dor present before and he just loves AirWatch and what it can do for any organisation.

The key points were how great AirWatch is at the thing it needs to be good at:

  • Identity and security of that Identity using one or many factor authentication.
  • Mobile apps, they really are here and now (look at uber it wasn’t here just two years ago)
  • Unified endpoint management over multiple devices.
  • Unify the user experience across any device.
  • Separate work and personal apps. (Allow it to only manage and secure the work apps and data)
  • Prevent data flow between work and personal apps.
  • Allow it to only manage and secure the work apps and data.
  • Automate process and deliver insights for a more efficient IT.
  • Integrate with the best of breed solutions.
  • Mobile initiatives to fit your needs.
  • Console supports 19 languages.

The key to mobile productivity with consumer simple apps like:

  • Workspace one (email, Calendar, contacts, documents and chat)
  • Browser
  • Content locker
  • Boxer
  • Social cast
  • Video


I was particularly interested in seeing the New Boxer Email client and it has some cool productivity features.

This is a fully integrated client and Dor demonstrated the calendar availability function which at a simple press of a button will read your calendar produce a HTML5 list of when your available and then paste it in to an email ready to send to someone. The other is Smart folders which will learn which emails you want to see first in the inbox, so not just the new unread emails but maybe you would want emails from your Boss to always be at the top. (you do want that bonus right!)


Privacy first

There have been some big changes around Privacy to put user’s minds at rest over what all of us big bad IT departments are tracking in terms of our users and our devices. I believe the phase mentioned was “Privacy first” protection for end users and IT.

There is now a Privacy App that you can install on devices this tells the user what data is and isn’t being gathered by AirWatch. The other big initiative is the website what is AirWatch, set up to educate users on what AirWatch is and does. So before you start to roll out AirWatch they recommend that you point your users and HR departments to the site.

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Modernising Windows Management through VMware AirWatch

Thibaut Bellon Manager Systems Engineering AirWatch

One of the biggest changes to the Windows platform is Windows 10, is it a Desktop, Mobile or Tablet Operation system? In previous years IT departments would control the desktop with group Policy’s spend weeks and months making sure the desktop was just right (and secure ish) but now we are all smaller lighter teams we can’t wait for the next desktop rollout to happen, Windows 10 is here and now and the good news is AirWatch can manage it.

Apparently according to Microsoft 76% of Microsoft enterprise and education customers are in active Windows 10 pilots. I find this a little high and in fact only 20% of the room admitted to it.

There are 2 options to Windows 10 Management with AirWatch:

  • Traditional management tools can still be used.
  • New enterprise mobile management (EMM) techniques.

Now using the 2nd optioAirWatch brings its EMM capabilities to the table for:

  • Simplified and flexible deployment.
  • Device and app lifecycle management.
  • End to end security.
  • Enterprise readiness

The Key points here are:

  •  Lifecycle management: AirWatch provides unified endpoint management across any device type even if the user has an android phone, Apple table and Windows laptop.
  • Cloud Ready: Mobile cloud apps demand new access control mechanism as traditional access control mechanisms no longer apply. The days of the perimeter firewall are now long gone and Cloud is here to stay so AirWatch is ready for this and can help with security.
  • Conditional Access: AirWatch can help you control who can run what applications and from where.
  • Authentication: AirWatch is ready to utilise multi factor and Biometric authentication.
  • AirWatch Tunnel and Per App VPN : another cool feature that AirWatch brings is app tunneling with the AirWatch Tunnel. This allows your end users to access corporate resources behind the firewall externally from their mobile device.

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VMware AirWatch Unified Endpoint Management

Dor is back and this time highlighting how the AirWatch enterprise mobility platform seamlessly unifies identity, native applications and device management technologies across all end- points.

The key points here are:

  • User centric
  • Cloud based scalable architecture
  • Consistent policy engine
  • End user self service
  • Real time analytics and reporting
  • Use cases corporate owned or BYOD devices
  • Unique technologies to manage the device cycle (activate, manage, secure and configure)
  • Adaptive management so manage the user not the device
  • The console has dynamic and modular dashboards and detailed and exportable reports
  • Configuration can be overwhelming So easy policy’s configuration with industry templates

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Case Studies

A number of case studies were mentioned from UK hospitals and schools to airlines who save money on printing costs and destruction of paper costs. Or retail companies who save time and costs on stocktaking and ordering. But I won’t repeat the list here if you want more go to http://www.air-watch.com/resources/case-studies/


Well what can I say, I’m already an AirWatch user and administrator so It’s no surprise that I like the product, but what I really like now is how its bringing us a set of tools that we can use to start slowly and then ramp up as we need then, so start with say one device and then add another, or add BYOD or CYOD. I’m also a horizon user and whilst we don’t integrate the products yet, it’s good to know that I can add on Workspace One and Identity manager at some point, or maybe I’m a step closer to a Windows 10 deployment. So watch this space.


AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Professional


So as I found myself with not a lot to do between Christmas and New Year, I thought I would pull my finger out and complete the studying for my next AirWatch certification the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Professional.
As I commented when I passed the Associate exam, the Professional requires study in 16 modules. So imaging my delight when reviewing the Study guide from AirWatch (on my links page) that there were no questions on VMware Identity Manager and Socialcast, so that removed two modules from my studying.

  • AirWatch Cloud Connector
  • Integration with Directory Services
  • Securing Mobile Devices with Certificates
  • AirWatch Mobile Access Gateway
  • Enrollment Options for Mobile Device Management
  • Creating Web, Application and Device Kiosks
  • Deploying a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program
  • Reporting, Analytics and Telecom Management
  • AirWatch Secure Email Gateway
  • Apple Volume Purchase Program: Apps and iBooks
  • VMware Identity Manager
  • AirWatch AppShield
  • AirWatch Content Locker Collaborate
  • Advanced Content Settings and Security
  • Socialcast
  • Laptop Management

So after watching the 14 video training modules on  my.airwatch I decided to take the exam , now the exam like the associate exam is also completed on line at my.airwatch The exam is made up of 45 questions to be taken in 90 minutes the pass mark is 70%. I will say that boy that time flies by, these questions are not that straightforward and I found myself almost taking the 2 minutes per question to just read and process some of the longer questions. Still I was presently surprised when after 89 minutes I managed to pass with 78%

I will say that the exam appeared to be heavily focused on Content Locker and Enrollment Options so in hindsight I would of liked to go through both of those modules in greater detail and I would encourage anyone else thinking of taking this particular exam to do the same.

As per other certifications you can logon and download your certificates, logos ect from my.airwatch

professional cert
There is also a handy link which can be used to verify the accreditation so I guess this would be for prospective employers to confirm your status. so check out my airwatch accreditations here

One point to finally mention is that the certification is only valid for a year and AirWatch encourage you to update your accreditation as new versions of the AirWatch solution become available. As I’m currently certified on the latest version 8.2 I will have to wait for a new version to be released and see how the upgrade exams work. Whether they are a full exam again or just an incremental exam, will I need to take both associate and professional exams and are there any costs are all questions I don’t know the answer to at the moment so if anyone can tell me please get in touch.

So what’s next for me and AirWatch well that’s it’s from an certification point of view, pending any upgrade exams so my next challenge is to put the training in to practice and build a production environment for my employer.

AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Associate

Following on from attending the AirWatch Connect Event in London last month, I have just passed my AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Associate Exam, my first AirWatch Certification. By attending the conference certification workshop I am eligible to take both the Associate and Professional exam within 45 days of attending the event so one down and one to go.


AirWatch Training can be found at https://my.air-watch.com/ where I believe anyone can register for an account, however from my experience AirWatch training appears to be only available to customers or AirWatch partners as you need to have the AirWatch Academy available in the AirWatch portal.

Information on AirWatch training and certification can be found at http://www.air-watch.com/services/training/ There are three levels of certification, Associate, Professional and Expert.

  • AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Associate: This accreditation will prove you understand the fundamentals of device, email, application, and content management and broaden your experience with the AirWatch console and mobile security.
  • AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Professional: The Enterprise Mobility Professional accreditation identifies you as a leader with the skills necessary to meet most of today’s challenges around device management, mobile email, mobile applications and more.
  • AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Expert: By becoming an AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Expert, you will prove your expertise of not only the AirWatch solutions, but also installation and deployment architectures, enabling your organization to install and upgrade the admin console and associated solutions. This is designed for people who use the On Premise edition of AirWatch.

By logging on to my.air-watch and entering the Academy you will find a number of online Video courses to watch which I found to be very good and there are now even Labs available utilising the familiar VMware HOL engine something that I guess has come out of the merger of VMware and AirWatch training departments. You will need your own mobile device so I recomend that you have a spare device to use that you can reset again once you have finished the lab. The training options are well laid out and structured, allowing you to even log off and back on again and pick up the video course from where you left it.

airwatch labs

Does this interface look familiar!

For the Associate track there are 6 courses to take totalling around 7 hours of video and 5 hours of labs.

  • Introduction to AirWatch
  • Mobile Device Management Fundamentals
  • Mobile Email Management Fundamentals
  • Mobile Application Management Fundamentals
  • Mobile Content Management Fundamentals
  • Platforms: Managing iOS, Android, & Windows Phone

I must confess that after siting through the certification Workshop by Dor Zakai at AirWatch Connect and then running through the courses again I was quite confident. But then you start to realise about all the things you don’t do with AirWatch. My organisation is trialling AirWatch at the moment and we have configured mainly Email, some basic lockdown and browsing on a few apple iPads and android phones. So there was a vast amount of content that I have never implemented, so content locker, or any MacBook, Windows devices and yes the are questions on all this and more.

The exam is made up of 45 questions to be taken in 90 minutes the pass mark is 70% I must admit that about half way through I wasn’t confident at getting that 70% so was presently surprised to see that I had passed with a score of 84%.

exam pass

So next is the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Professional exam, I now have 16 modules to work through so around 12 hours of Video plus labs. Some of these I have experience of I should be able to cover quite quickly other will be new to me. I will update the Blog once I have hopefully passed this exam.

  • AirWatch Cloud Connector
  • Integration with Directory Services
  • Securing Mobile Devices with Certificates
  • AirWatch Mobile Access Gateway
  • Enrollment Options for Mobile Device Management
  • Creating Web, Application and Device Kiosks
  • Deploying a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program
  • Reporting, Analytics and Telecom Management
  • AirWatch Secure Email Gateway
  • Apple Volume Purchase Program: Apps and iBooks
  • VMware Identity Manager
  • AirWatch AppShield
  • AirWatch Content Locker Collaborate
  • Advanced Content Settings and Security
  • Socialcast
  • Laptop Management

AirWatch Connect London 2015 October 28th

Well today I find myself at my first AirWatch Connect Conference event in London, this is a two day event for me, Day 1 (today) has been full of sessions covering all aspects of AirWatch and mobile device management. Day 2 tomorrow is AirWatch Certification Training which will hopefully give me a head start to achieving the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Associate.

Today’s highlights have been several sessions hosted by the two main speakers Dor Zakai @DorZakai and Thibaut Bekkin @thibaut_bellon. Both of these guys are Sales Engineering Managers for AirWatch and are passionate about AirWatch and what it can do for you, which make’s listening to them easy. I saw Dor at VMworld so was keen to hear him speak again and wasn’t disappointed.

“Identity Management built for the Mobile Cloud Era” There was certainly a lot of posts on the Connect application and Twitter about this session by Dor. It introduces the VMware Identity Manager and how it can integrate with AirWatch, bringing you easy application deployment and SSO. VMware Identity Manager is free if you are a Blue or Yellow AirWatch Suite user, so I urge you to check it out.

Dor also introduced the Per App VPN that allows you to configure seamless logons to your private applications by a seamless VPN that combined with SSO, allows the user with just one click on the Icon to logon to your Private applications. Taking this even further you can then containerise the applications so that only work data can be opened with work applications and users personal applications cant integration with this data.

After lunch Dor took us through “Enterprise Innovations for Apple IOS and OSX “which introduced how Apple Device Enrolment Program (DEP) can give you out of the box device enrolment in to AirWatch and your environment. And how the AirWatch Unified App Catalog can bring the same applications and user experience to the devices.

Then it was over to Thibaut who gave us “Android to Work”. Android for Work from Google allows you to run 2 separate user personas on a device, one the work persona with work applications and one the user’s personal persona that lets them do what they like on the device. One thing to mention is that Android for Work requires Android 5 or above, however Android 4 users can also download the Android for Work App that brings most of the functionality to the devices.The coolest function here is bulk enrolment feature that’s coming in the next release of Android Marshmallow. This allows you to bulk deploy new devices with your image using NFC. Just bump the out of the box device to your master device and that’s it your build is deployed!

This was followed up by Thibaut showing us what AirWatch can do for Windows 10 Devices and by devices we are talking about laptop and tablets as well as mobile phones. This for me was a real eye opener and requires a radical rethink to how you deploy new devices, but the benefits are huge especially if you want to maintain application compatibility and security on devices.

To close the day out there Dor brought us “NSX and AirWatch” and “Securing your enterprise with VPN and Networking” there is a great deal of overlap on these subjects but basically by bringing NSX to AirWatch you can start to secure your applications using the Micro Segmentation that NSX brings you. For example You can create a Software defined Network on NSX then switch to AirWatch and simply configure your applications to only allow access to devices that are on this network. I for one see a future where all this can be managed by one console. Regarding VPN app tunnelling this requires upgrading to the new AirWatch 8.1 Linux Mag that supports the VPN app tunnelling. It has been hinted that in the future this appliance may well come in the form of a OVF file so ready to deploy, as someone who is a Windows person and not a Linux person this is something that I really want ASAP.

This wouldn’t be a conference without the free swag and Networking Party and AirWatch didn’t disappoint bringing us vouchers that we could spend on swag of our choice at the stand and an excellent reception in to the evening.

Airwatch Swag