To BYOD, Or Not To BYOD

Employee Using Smartphone at workAs of this writing, I have my personal smartphone and iPad sitting on my desk next to my company-issued laptop. According to my latest personal (and absolutely unscientific) poll of friends, family, and colleagues, I’m no different than the norm. How many personal mobile devices do you use for  work every day?

With the use of mobile devices on the rise, the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) concept is becoming a familiar problem for corporate IT shops. So, baffled IT executives are opting to do one  two things:

  • Issue an outright ban against the use of personal mobile devices to facilitate work responsibilities
  • Seize new-found savings and opportunity by embracing the technology

No matter what, there’s a cost associated with either BYOD-related decision.

The risk of dismissing BYOD

These organizations tend to miss out on never-before-seen productivity gains. According to an Avande survey, the key benefit of BYOD is the ability to allow employees to work from anywhere. Approximately, 42% of businesses surveyed claimed that its employees are much more willing to log work time after hours.

Also, there’s a potential for those same companies to lose out in the competition for new talent. A Fortinet study found that 50% of professionals under the age of 30 believe that it’s a right to use their own mobile devices at work, rather than BYOD being viewed as a privilege. Also, one third of that group would actually violate anti-BYOD policies to use their personal device at work, leaving the door open for data loss and security breaches.

The risk of adopting BYOD

IT shops that provide technical support for personal smartphones, tablets, and laptops use at work are not immune from risk either. If managed poorly, BYOD programs can actually end up costing more than their previous company-owned device programs.

BYOD also has the potential to open the floodgates to chaos. Employees who want to use the same device for both personal use and work blur the lines between work and personal life – and data. And like those that dismiss BYOD, these companies have to deal with the brand-devastating issue of data security and loss.

Protect your data – whether you adopt BYOD or not

The fast growth predicted in smartphone and media tablet shipments in the next five years will drive IT consumerization. This will require IT management to make  tough decisions on making their technology infrastructure mobile ready.

Whether you choose to establish BYOD or not, policies that protect data are needed. The essential tools needed for developing a standard mobile-ready environment include mobile device management, network access control, and mobile data protection. Gartner also urges companies to set up a mobility strategy team inside the IT department for data management and to develop a BYOD policy to balance costs and consider ways to reimburse workers.

Is your IT shop ready?