In my ever changing day I will read anywhere from 50-150 web articles in any given day. Much of the time this will lead me down a rabbit hole or two and have me dive into several White Papers or other linked materials that strike my interest. One that did just that was an article from read write enterprise titled “What Does a Typical BYOD Program Really Look Like?” Any time a website includes some interesting data points and conducts a survey it seems to get my attention and makes me focus a little more on the content.
The world of BYOD is something that my customers come to me with almost every day. It doesn’t matter if they are a small School District in Alabama or a Multinational Corporation Headquartered in Belgium…the question is the same…What is the right way to do BYOD that does not make me less secure?
Security more than anything else seems to be the biggest concern for IT Professionals that are either proactively addressing the BYOD challenge or are being mandated by the business to support the growing number of options for employees to do their day to day work.
The article sites that BYOD is popular with companies but less so with employees? That is an interesting statement and one that deserves a look at the deeper reason why. When one looks at the core numbers like 49% of companies have a BYOD program but for 69% of those companies there is less than 50% participation. I had a customer bring up the fact that they are not pushing towards BYOD because it creates a “Class System” of those who have and those that have not and that is something that they can not risk creating a “human rights fiasco out of”. Interesting that when you think of it that way…there is a disconnect between the vision and the reality.
There is definitely a push towards more and more smart phones out there…it is just a fact…try going shopping for a non-smartphone device at any wireless provider these days…you end up with a really small list of options (I went to my provider Rogers Wireless and there is just 3 non smartphones available) so of course there is more people that are joining the ranks of smartphone users…but what if I don’t want a smartphone or a data plan or any bells and whistles (oh my…the Geek in me just shuddered at the thought)…well I have a choice of becoming a Luddite and disconnecting from the world or sucking it up and in many cases being forced into the world of technology!
BYOD is really a good thing…I am all for more of it…but could most companies handle a guy like me that on any given day I could have one of 11 different devices show up? I sit at my desk looking at the wonderful technology that sits before me, I have my Motorola Smartphone (x2), if I ever resolved the Brick Issue I would have the option of 2 Samsung Smartphones as well, then there is the laptop issue…I now have a small 7″ Netbook, a 10″ Netbook and a 14″ Laptop (thanks again to Vince Londini for the donation). Then there is the world of my tablets…I have my 7″ HP Zeen that came with my printer, an iPad2 and if I have my way…a Nexus 7 as early as next week. Then there are the non standard devices like the retired iPod Touch (my daughter got and iPhone4S for Christmas and no longer uses the iPod), my Kindle all that have a WiFi connection and potentially could come to work with me and ask to join the network.
Beyond that there is the interesting fact of non-standard applications that these devices leverage…the Dropbox, Box.net and Oxygen Cloud setups. The full Private Cloud that I built yesterday and the NAS box that will likely be going live with my Oxygen Cloud next week…well I am one HUGE security risk for Data Leakage!
The challenge is not a small one…and while it may make a lot of sense to start down the path of BYOD from a productivity and cost savings stand point…it is also VERY important to look at the BIG Picture. Measure twice and cut once…because once the door is open…it is very hard to close back up again!
Chris J Powell