Posts tagged BYOD
I’ve been working on a number of events recently that have focused on an IT industry trend known as Bring Your Own Device.
A few weeks ago I hosted the Computing IT Leaders Forum at the London Stock Exchange where we discussed some of the challenges organisations face when implementing a Bring Your Own Device strategy; later this week I’ll be hosting an event at the BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT provocatively titled Bring Your Own Distraction?
But what exactly is a ‘Bring Your Own Device Strategy’ and why has BYOD been stealing column inches in the press, dominating recent IT industry events and been the subject of big talk in the boardroom? Here’s my take.
Bring Your Own Device
Bring Your Own Device, BYOD for short, describes how employers are increasingly allowing and encouraging employees to use their own devices to access company resources. A typical example might be an employee using his own iPhone to check his work emails on the train or perhaps using a self-owned iPad to check customer information on a client site, rather than a company-owned laptop,.
Historically as a company employee you’d be given a desktop or laptop PC and perhaps a Blackberry by your company’s IT department in order to access your corporate email. All of this hardware and software comes at a cost to the company, as does supporting and replacing it; however, if staff are duplicating these devices with their own personal smartphones, tablets and laptop computers then many of these costs might on the surface appear to be avoidable for the IT department.
Furthermore, an increased mobilisation across many industries towards flexible working is driving IT departments to provide their workforce with access to corporate data on the road or from their homes. Again, employees’ own devices are often perceived to be convenient and cost-efficient options.
Most importantly, it appears that employees themselves are keen to make use of their own devices for both business and pleasure, driven by convenience and the fact that self-owned kit is often of a higher-specification than that provided by the company.
BYOD: Win Win?
Surely a match made in heaven: IT departments keen to cut expenditure and employees motivated to help them do so. What could possibly go wrong?
Some suggest that there are as many risks associated with adopting a BYOD strategy as there are benefits. Device and data security are two significant challenges, particularly in heavily-regulated sectors such as finance and government, as is providing and maintaining a supportive, secure and flexible network infrastructure.
Nevertheless, big-hitting corporations including IBM and Citrix have embraced BYOD and are reaping rewards; IBM recently revealed that 80,000 of its staff are accessing its corporate networks using their own devices and paying their own service fees, while Citrix has cited a 20% saving on its budgets so far.
Bring Your Own Cloud?
However, physical devices aren’t the only consumer technologies that employees are now bringing into the workplace. Widespread adoption of easy-to-access cloud services and, critically, a plethora of apps that support them further blurs the boundary between work and play.
Take the cloud storage service Dropbox as an example: it allows users to store, access and share many gigabytes of files seamlessly from a desktop, web browser, a Dropbox app or integrated into many dozens of other applications. Google’s recently announced a similar Google Drive solution but its terms of service have provoked controversy around who actually owns data once stored on its systems.
Who Owns IT?
Therefore this question of ownership extends far beyond the physical device. The value of the data now available outside of the safe confines of the company office or network far outweighs the value of the device, even moreso when that information is sensitive, classified or regulated.
Software controls can be put in place to ensure that in the event of a device being reported as lost or stolen it can be remotely wiped to minimise exposure, although even here there are potential issues when the device contains personal assets as well as business data.
However, when data gets lost in the cloud, either accidentally or through privacy violation (as reported last year with Dropbox) it’s less clear how to minimise exposure. While not enforced, perhaps it falls upon encryption technologies to ensure that stranded files cannot be accessed.
Nevertheless, in many ways this is nothing new – messages and file attachments have been leaving corporate networks as email almost since the beginning of the internet and some would argue this still poses a greater overall risk to security.
Bring Your Own Experts
There are so many more discussions to be had around BYOD: which mobile platforms offer most security (e.g., iOS or Android), or how to embrace these devices to begin offering better experiences (i.e., enterprise apps); then there’s legal and policy aspects about the rights employers and employees sign away when agreeing to use self-owned devices; and of course there’s virus and malware detection/protection on mobile devices too. Inevitably there’s also significant overlap with Enterprise Mobility as smartphones and tablet computers are two major categories of consumer device that staff are wanting to use.
Needless to say, I’m not the expert here and am fortunate to work at events alongside professionals who advise upon and implement these solutions every day.
Learn about the Challenges and Benefits of BYOD
If you want to learn more about the challenges and potential benefits of implementing a BYOD policy then why not come along to the event I’ll be hosting at the BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT in London on Wednesday May 16th 2012.
Speaking at the event will be Ian Foddering, Chief Technical Officer of Cisco UK & Ireland, and Cesare Garlati, VP Mobile Security for Trend Micro, both of whom are recognised industry experts on BYOD.
For the last few weeks I’ve been busily working away on an exciting new programme called The Innovation Show and I’m now able reveal some more details.
The Innovation Show is a brand new, 30-minute online show hosted by me all about the latest technologies and IT innovations impacting business.
In a packed first show I learn how the latest consumer smartphones, tablets and apps are being used both by employees and businesses; I head over to Canary Wharf to find out what people there think ‘Big Data’ is; and I get hands-on to see how football results from all across Europe are being analysed and visualised using a simple downloadable app.
And as if that wasn’t enough to squeeze into a 30-minute programme we also find time to round up the latest technology news and take a quick detour into geospatial analytics!
Joining me in the studio are my expert guests Timo Elliott (Senior Director, Strategic Marketing at Business Objects), Adrian Simpson (Chief Technology Officer, SAP UK) and Ian Thain (Senior Mobile Evangelist, Sybase).
The first show is broadcast online at 14:00 BST on Thursday 3rd May 2012 and will be available on demand shortly afterwards – click here to find out more and see a teaser trailer.
The Innovation Show is produced by SAP, a world leader in business software, and production managed by the top team at Creation Company TV.