Is BYOD Here to Stay … or Is It Just a Passing Fad?

Mobile employees are demanding to use their personal devices to access company data. But are the security risks and management hassles worth it?

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A trend that is getting a lot of airplay south of the border and in Europe is ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) – when mobile employees use or demand to use their personal devices over corporate-issue devices. This trend started with smartphones, but with the adoption of tablets skyrocketing in the global consumer space, many businesses and their IT organizations are implementing BYOD policies to gain control of these devices and ensure that their data remains secure.

Gartner reported that by 2014, 90% of organizations will support corporate applications on personal devices. Here are four key factors that are spurring this trend:

  • Consumer IT devices are becoming more affordable.
  • New devices are portable and easy to use.
  • Internet connectivity is pervasive, thanks to 3G and Wi-Fi hot spots.
  • Consumers need to access applications, content and social media anytime and anywhere.

In the old days (which is still the case for many), IT departments were responsible for evaluating, procuring, provisioning, maintaining and supporting all of an enterprise’s IT devices. Now, BYOD is impacting the network as users access corporate data and applications through their personal devices. This creates a number of challenges for the network and is causing IT leaders to express concerns about these issues:

  • Security – BYOD will cause a number of disruptions and raise security concerns as company data is shared across unfamiliar devices and services.
  • Governance – A successful BYOD program involves developing policies and addressing risk management scenarios.
  • Cost – Businesses get discounts for group purchases while single users do not.
  • Management – IT administrators are used to having their clients set up their way. However, the consumerization of IT brings in a multitude of platforms and setups, which can be a nightmare for a help desk. For example, IT must now know how to support a variety of personal devices, as opposed to a standard corporate-issue device.

What is obvious from both a business and personal standpoint is that better-managed devices are safer devices.

I prefer to maintain a distinction between my personal and business interactions, and currently juggle both a personal and a business smartphone. I’d also like to use a tablet at work for note taking, accessing email and developing presentations, rather than lugging around my weighty laptop.

This issue begs the question: will BYOD become mainstream as analysts are predicting, or will it prove to be a passing fad? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below. 

 

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10 Comments

  1. BYOD is a top agenda item on every CIO desk today. There are two reasons. 1) IT Staff has found a way to reduce costs by having employees use their own device 2) No one wants to carry two cellphones.

    I would rather use my iPhone for personal and for business use. I don’t need to carry a second old school flip phone for business calls. I am fortunate to have the ShoreTel Mobility Router app on my iPhone so having a segmented person/business dialer is important. I can also save a ton of $$$ and airtime minutes by using the FMC client to make calls over wifi. BYOD is here to stay and we can expect more to come in the mobile UC arena. Having my corporate extension on my iPad also makes it easier to make calls from Starbucks, Panera Bread, McDonalds or the Marriott Hotel lobbys wi-fi networks.

    John Leonardelli / 9 years ago
    • John, thanks for sharing your story! I do agree, BYOD is here to stay. I just happen to carry a purse so don’t mind turning one off and the other on when needed. As you rightly point out, with more apps being developed in the mobile UC space, it will continue to influence how and where we work. I expect BYOD to further blur the lines between personal and business. From a business standpoint, I can appreciate why businesses need to tread lightly given the need to ensure those blurred lines don’t negatively impact the bottom line – that the proprietary corporate data we carry on behalf of our employers is not at risk. And as you point out, having a segmented approach to security in this BYOD world is critical. Thanks again for sharing your comments.

      Anne Parviainen / 9 years ago
  2. BYOD has some ups and downs. One challenges is the adaptability of the organization and infrastructure to accommodate this rate of change. We have found that easy, simple guidelines that are available for all is one way to keep everyone informed. We build and create an Authoritative Guide in days to provide end-users all of the necessary tools and information to safely and securely BYOD.

    Sasha / 9 years ago
    • Sasha, thanks for your comments. Have you created or come across an “authoritative guide” to secure a BYOD program? Curious.

      Anne Parviainen / 9 years ago
  3. The door is open, already there are users bringing their own devices, (iPhones, iPads etc.) to use on the organization’s network. The whole idea of security has to be re-thought. How does an organization protect their data, the data of their clients, proprietary applications etc.? Good to reduce the cost of purchasing devices but at what cost to the organization down the road? Software products to protect an organizations data are expensive but may become necessary. Be prepared to spend, spend, spend.

    Ron Gilbert / 9 years ago
    • Thanks for sharing your comments, Ron. You make a great point about the need to rethink corporate security because BYOD potentially puts the business at risk if security is compromised.
      I’m wondering what role employees should play in securing their own devices through a BYOD program? What are their responsibilities, if any?

      Anne Parviainen / 9 years ago
  4. So what happens when a users BYOD smartphone dies? Who pays to fix it? Presumably the user… and if they have to wait till next payday? What do they do in the meantime for business communications… I can see a real business problem here if corporations are going to let the user manage this. Not everybody can afford to go out immediately and buy another phone; some repairs can take a couple of weeks – bring it in, drop it off, wait… No control really does mean NO CONTROL! We use Blackberries, supplied by the company and supported by the company. If one dies, there are spares available. Is BYOD penny wise but pound foolish?

    Bruce Jamieson / 9 years ago
    • Bruce, appreciate the comments. You raise a great question given the impact the loss of a device would have on the business. Today with the loss of a corporate device, I would file a report on my missing device and IT would reissue a new device (knock on wood – has not happened to me – yet). With BYOD, I would be under a self-service agreement. The business doesn’t control that replacement process as you point out. But if business communications are interrupted for any length of time, this can cost the business not only time but money –perhaps even customers if it’s for an extended period of time.

      Anne Parviainen / 9 years ago

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