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BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – Thoughts from the trenches

Bring your own deviceVia smart phones, tablets, mobile sites, business applications and more, the consumerization of IT continues to impact the way employees use technology at work. Many organizations are shifting away from company-issued devices and adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in some form or another, which allow employees to use the mobile technology they’re most familiar with.

BYOD policies, of course, have benefits and drawbacks. While the freedom to choose the device and platform you’re most proficient in can boost productivity and perhaps moral as some say, supporting multiple platforms can be a burden for IT, and security issues are a significant corporate concern.

A smaller survey among 120 IT decision-makers by Brocade sighted increased traffic and BYOD activities were likely with new tablets such as the iPad (3rd Gen), aka iPad 3, and smartphones.  Recently with every new device, there is an increasing push to have IT to accept it.

What can you do?

If you are looking at the current BYOD phenomenon for corporate smart phones, tablets or even laptops I believe these multiple factors are important to consider:

– Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – How are you going to protect information that is critical to your business?  What is your security requirements?  What about devices, platforms, applications, that don’t meet the criteria?
– Support – Are you going to have any supportability to your end-users? Usually IT departments will need to support devices in order to sustain their business requirements. If you don’t offer support, how will your end-users fully benefit and gain the cost savings BYOD may bring?

– Device Management – How can device management assist with any of these factors? What are your software requirements?
– Legal – How will you legally wipe data off a personal device?  Is corporate software or services licensed to be used or accessed from personal devices? What are the additional costs?

– Fragmentation – If there are specific mobile OS platforms/devices that will not be supported, what are the processes to reevaluate or look for solutions to fill those gaps? How are you going to keep up to speed on the rapid mobility changes?

– Grouping – Perhaps setting up multiple groupings, based upon defined business boundaries, different or no BYOD policies can be setup and supported. These could include support, security and access policies.

– Costs – Highly recommended to properly research all costs involved. In particular support levels offered, telecom stipends and software licensing.

– Start Small – In any organization, it may be beneficial to start with a smaller pilot, get your “feet wet” and see how things go, make some milestones and then decide on next steps..

As the world is increasingly being driven by mobility in our personal and business lives, many companies, if they haven’t already, will also need to step up and designate resources (Chief Mobility Officers are now a reality) to better understand, research and support these new technologies that are now here to stay..

Further Information

For additional background information these resources may be of interest:

Mobile Enterprise: Bring Your Own Device: Individual Liable User Policy Considerations – 3/7/2012
InfoWorld: The essential strategy guide on the consumerization of IT – 3/6/2012

Very Quick Survey

Kyle Lagunas of Software Advice is running a quick survey to get a pulse of priorities, challenges and success in rolling out a BYOD policy. I invite you to give a few minutes of your time, and participate anonymously, and I will post the survey results back here:


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