BYOD: Device, Data, or Disaster?

Author: Anonym/Thursday, July 25, 2013/Categories: Business Cloud Services

You’ve probably heard the phrase BYOD (bring your own device), the practice of allowing employees to access corporate data on their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. There are good reasons to let employees work with their own devices. It takes some the burden of managing devices off your IT personnel. BYOD allows employees to use equipment that they have chosen, that they like, and with which they have experience. And it can save the company money. The risks are loss of centralized IT control, possible access to corporate systems by malicious applications, and the possible loss of sensitive data if devices are lost or stolen or when employees leave the company.

Employers' approaches to BYOD today vary a lot, from relatively uncontrolled access to absolute prohibition. But no matter what your current position, there’s a good chance that things are going to change. If you prohibit employee-owned devices, pressure to allow them will grow. If you already allow BYOD, the number and variety of devices will increase. And even if everyone were already using them, demands will change as new technology emerges.

The challenge for IT departments is going to be building and supporting an infrastructure that supports whatever forms of access the company chooses to allow. The problem is that you can’t just consider a centralized IT perspective; you’ll have to consider the needs of network architects, security, desktop support, and business units. Implementing BYOD is going to be a complex process of orchestrating overlapping, possibly conflicting demands.

While somewill be tempted to “wait and see how things shape up,” every day you wait could be the day that some piece of nasty malware isintroduced to your system or some valuable asset goes missing. The complexity you face will only grow with time, and if you wait until the pressure is on, your decisions will be reactive rather than proactive, and that’s never good.

What kind of costs can an organization expect incur when implementing a BYOD solution? Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group estimated costs at an extra $170 per mobile device. On the other hand, Cisco estimated a cost savings of 17 to 22 percent. But whatever the numbers turn outto be, it’s a change that’s going to come knocking on your door, so whether you are currently developing a bring your own bring-your-own-device strategy or are just beginning to consider BYOD, there are a variety of issue to consider. The good news is that there are established best practices for meeting the challenges of supporting user-owned devices. We can help.

 

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