Monday, 18 June 2012

Is BYOD Over-hyped? No / Yes


Introduction

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the relatively recent phenomenon where company employees bring personally-owned mobile devices to their place of work to use for work purposes. To find the beginning of time for BYOD, you could perhaps go back as far as when the first practical personal laptops, and/or the first personal mobile phones capable of serving email, appeared on the market.

Related to BYOD is BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) and BYOA (Bring Your Own App.)

There is a lot of debate in the internet-land regards BYOD, and this following post attempts to pose and answer the 'Is BYOD Over-hyped?' question, as if from a no camp, then from a yes camp, and reach a conclusion at the end.

Is BYOD Overhyped? No
Why?

It is important that IT listens to its consumers. There is nothing worse than a strict totalitarian authority that manages to crush all attempts at innovation, and bans things without alternatives being there. Staff should be commended for bringing their own devices into work for work purposes, but BYOD should not be left unchecked – IT should be an enabler for secure BYOD. People are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and increase productivity, be it via automation or finding things that simply make life easier. The IT department should not be a road-block to new ways of doing things; it is all about working in partnership, but of course someone has got to be ultimately responsible for enterprise data security!

Is BYOD Overhyped? Yes
Why?

It is important that employees are given the correct tools to do their job. If employees are coming into the work place to do work things on their own devices, then the corporation is failing to properly equip its staff.

Many a time that a personal device is brought into the workplace, it is maybe used for a little bit of work, and then a big bit of personal recreation – be it accessing websites that are blocked on the corporate internet, playing games, watching movies. The personal device is a way to circumvent corporate IT security lock downs that are (usually) in place for good reason.

Security is a problem. If staff are allowed to download or store work related materials on personal devices, and if these personal devices – that are not secured by any enterprise security systems – are the source of leaks or data loss, this will have repercussions on the corporation whose responsibility it is to protect that data.

Also, a question that needs to be asked before going down the route and expense of BYOD enablement, is how many employees would actually want to bring in to work a personal device to do work on, if it were possible to do this.

Conclusion

Yes, BYOD is cool and it is funky, but the IT department must be responsible for all devices accessing corporate data to maintain enterprise data security.

2 comments:

  1. Vidad, you make some valid points. I agree that “the IT department must be responsible for all devices accessing corporate data to maintain enterprise data security.” However, I don’t think that means BYOD can’t be done securely while also embracing the fundamental idea behind BYOD, which is less management on the part of the company. The company I work for, Symantec, recently acquired Nukona, which makes mobile application management, or MAM, technology. MAM enables enterprises to avoid device-level management and instead implement application-level management on user-owned devices. It does this by allowing enterprises to “wrap” each of their corporate apps and the data tied to them in their own security and management layers. This gives enterprises complete control of their apps and data while leaving the rest of the user-owned devices they are on and also users’ experiences with those devices untouched.

    Spencer Parkinson
    Symantec

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    Replies
    1. Hello Spencer, thank you very much for comment. I'll check out Nukona. Cheers!

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