Not a week goes by that I don't receive a press release or
read a news article about some new product or other that "solves
BYOD." Vendors and customers that look at BYOD as a problem to solve, and
not an opportunity to take advantage of, are missing the point.
your own device (BYOD) trend is happening because workers want to be more
flexible, efficient and, ultimately, productive. That is not a problem. The
problem is that the tools you've given your employees all these years -- the three-year-old
BlackBerry, the Web app that only works in Internet Explorer 6, the VPN that
takes five minutes to sign on to -- no longer cut it. BYOD is users' response
to the problem. What will your response be?
You can adopt a formal BYOD
program, putting policies and products into place that strike the right
balance between user freedom and corporate security. Just make sure you choose
this route for the right reasons. (Hint: Don't do it expecting huge BYOD
If the idea of letting any old smartphone or tablet off the
street onto your corporate network freaks you out, you can limit the personal devices
you'll support, or you can buy specific devices for employees. This
corporate-issued model is something a lot of organizations are familiar with
thanks to BlackBerry, so it may be a better fit for some -- as long as you buy
devices that employees will want to use, and you don't lock them down so much
that you take away their consumer appeal. "WHAT? NO YOUTUBE?!?!?"
mobility management approach you choose will depend on your organization's
goals, security requirements and risk tolerance, as well as your users' needs. It
really doesn't matter which technologies and policies you implement, as long as
they enable employees to be more productive and give IT the level of security
and control it needs (not wants; those are often two very different things).
BYOD is disruptive. It brings challenges.
It takes control out of IT's hands. But these issues are simply the natural fallout
from IT's inability to keep up with users' technology needs. That is the
problem that needs to be solved.
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