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Time certainly flew by at TechEd last week. And it was a great week for mobility. I was pleased to be involved in several discussion sessions including Talking Mobility at  TechEd: iPhone in the Enterprise, Mobility Governance, and a discussion on the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ concept.  I’ll talk a bit more about the BYOD concept here and in the coming few weeks.

The interactive sessions are probably my favourite part of TechEd (next to the great concert and opportunities to network). These are conversations on issues that are important to you. Those who attended this particular session were very interested in exploring some of the ‘gotchas’ that they may not have thought of before.  BYOD certainly isn’t an automatic win for companies – and the decision to adopt this model shouldn’t be taken without through and planning.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been working with analyst firm Aberdeen Group to prepare a whitepaper on this very topic – so I came to the session prepared with lots of the latest stats and recommendations from experts. To start, there are a few reasons why this topic is so top of mind right now.  Often companies think they will automatically save money by having employees purchase their own devices.  But, if it isn’t managed well it can actually end up costing you more.

We had about 25 people in the room for this BYOD discussion, and a quick survey revealed that about 3/4 of them allowed personally owned devices to access the corporate network, and a few others were considering it. The way they were handling it varied though.  Most people were in ‘Stage 1’ of a BYOD model – basically allowing access to enterprise email only. But everyone agreed that the reason these devices are so popular is because of the Apps. They agreed that the need to fully secure all devices (whether personally owned or not) and have a comprehensive mobile Apps strategy is paramount.

One audience member brought up a good point – he believes that whether a device is personally owned or corporate owned, the way you manage it should be the same. I think in general this is true – however there are some things to think about in regards to having legal rights to access phone records that may differ.

While this session was just a brief introduction to the BYOD discussion, we’ll dive much deeper into it as we explore this topic in the Aberdeen whitepaper I mentioned earlier. I’ve worked with Andrew Borg, mobility analyst at Aberdeen to share the latest stats and things to considering for ‘Enterprise-grade BYOD’. Stay tuned for more on this topic in coming posts.

See you next year at TechEd 2012.

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