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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.