BYOD: Are we at a tipping point?By Sean Wilkins
There has certainly been a large amount of articles and white papers written about the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. It’s a shift that most employees seem to support, but it’s not always as well-received by management. The question is whether a tipping point has been crossed with the current product offerings to make BYOD more widely viable.
What is the problem with BYOD?
There are certainly a large number of obvious problems that can occur when you let employees control their own hardware–from the operating system selected, the applications being used, the licensing costs, and the support costs, among others.
The implementation model of 10 years ago would never permit non-IT-controlled devices on the corporate network. This was because of all of the inherent risks that come with this; but with great progress in the virtualization sector of the IT world, a widely feasible BYOD option is available from many vendors. But there’s still some argument over whether or not it saves companies money.
BYOD virtualization solutions widely focus on the separation of businesses data and personal data; this is where a virtual desktop and/or virtual application solution really can shine. These can be used to access business data and applications, without having to lose the security that exists on an IT-controlled environment. The next real question is how to implement such a solution.
Large businesses that have slowly jumped into BYOD have been largely unsuccessful, with secondary expenses largely taking away or costing more than the perceived benefit of the solution. These same problems can be avoided at smaller businesses because they have a more direct communications structure that exists between departments (if different departments even exist). The trick in larger businesses seems to be (as it often is) to get executive support and jump into 100 percent support company-wide; this enables the whole organization to help in solving the problems and issues that arise. Without this support, the BYOD deployment will almost certainly fail and cost the organization more than the initial expected BYOD savings.
There have been a number of different solutions on how to deal with the separation of expenses between personal services and business services; e.g. if an employee is using a personal phone for work, how much of the bill is covered by the employer? The selection of which one specifically works for any given organization greatly differs depending on the specific business sector.
The real question is whether the available BYOD offerings really offer the solution to continually work in a business environment; has the tipping point of potential solutions been reached or will the idea of BYOD just fade away as many others have? It does seems as though the solutions offer a viable option that both allows businesses to maintain security and to maintain the freedom that employees are looking for in selecting their own devices. The bigger question is whether the executive support exists for the project in the first place, as this is vital for the success of the project.
There is hope for the success of BYOD on a wider scale, but there will have to be some widely known successes before many executives will embrace the advertised savings.
About the Author
Sean Wilkins is an accomplished networking consultant for SR-W Consulting (http://www.sr-wconsulting.com) and writer/editor for infoDispersion (http://www.idisperse.info). Sean has been in the IT field for over 15 years, working with companies like Cisco, Lucent, Verizon and AT&T as well as several other private companies. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+). His educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management, a Master’s Certificate in Network Security, a Bachelors of Science in Computer Networking, and an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.
Author's Website: http://www.sr-wconsulting.com
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