BYOD: Still Evolving

Carl Weinschenk
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The bring your own device (BYOD) movement has quickly evolved from an outlier to a central element of the way businesses work and communicate. This transition has been apparent for quite some time. It doesn’t mean, however, that everybody is happy about it or that companies shouldn’t continue to strive to make it work better and more securely.

First, the naysayers. The Oracle European BYOD Index Report found that almost half of the 700 businesses studied aren’t fond of the approach. Twenty-nine percent only allow it for senior employees, 22 percent ban it entirely and 20 percent have no rules on BYOD.

Device security, application security and data security led the list of concerns with BYOD practices. Perhaps good security and related procedures can, over the course of time, reduce the opposition to BYOD felt by the Europeans (and no doubt shared in North America, at least to some extent).

Baseline offers some tips on how to approach BYOD: Use mobile device management software, create a list of approved applications, protect access controls with passwords and take advantage of the availability of remote wipe capabilities.

Indeed, BYOD very much is a work in progress. Michael O’Dwyer at Tech Page One suggests that BYOD 2.0 is on the way. This will be, in essence, an attempt to rein in the current expansive vision of the platform:

The next iteration of policies, BYOD 2.0, emphasizes company software, cloud features and restricts personal use during work hours. These policies also give more control to IT departments in the areas of software selection and links to existing processes.

O’Dwyer and Vaclav Vincalek, the president of Pacific Coast Information Systems, suggest that the next iteration of BYOD may seek to manage users more effectively by specifying platforms and operating system versions.

Another challenge for BYOD that isn’t getting as much attention: backup. At ComputerWeekly, Antony Adshead wrote that he had assumed that BYOD devices weren’t getting backed up by businesses because only specialized vendors offer such services and employees use consumer services such as DropBox. 

He now thinks that this is inaccurate. The fact, Adshead said, is that these devices simply aren’t being backed up. He pointed to two obvious takeaways: Lack of backup is a big compliance issue and the need to do so is a big opportunity for backup vendors.

The bottom line is that BYOD still is a process in progress. It will be interesting to see what changes and trends emerge during the next phase.

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