While there’s a lot of debate these days over the merits of bring your own device (BYOD) in the workplace, the simple fact of the matter is that it’s inevitable.
The reason for this is the rate of change taking place within a mobile computing segment that is largely being driven by the desires of consumers. Advances in mobile computing devices are occurring multiple times a year. That’s not a pace that the average IT organization can keep pace with. By the time most IT organizations acquire, provision and then test a mobile computing device on behalf of their end users, the device is already obsolete.
Peter Frankl, senior vice president for lifecycle management at Absolute Software, a provider of software for managing and securing mobile computing devices, says that it’s time IT organizations finally recognize that new reality. While BYOD presents some obvious management challenges, the savings generated by end users essentially paying for their own mobile computing devices and associated data plans can be quite substantial. Most of those users will wind up writing those expenses off as an unreimbursed business expense, even if they are only used for actual business purposes 10 percent of the time. The point is that even if IT bought those people a mobile computing device, within the year many of those same people would be looking to attach the next cool thing to the corporate network long before the device IT gave them either depreciated or was eligible for an upgrade.
Frankl says the best thing most IT organizations can do today is figure out how to take a proactive approach to managing that new BYOD reality. Trying to ignore BYOD winds up not only alienating employees, it winds up creating more security issues as employees move to surreptitiously end run IT polices that they view as either draconian or simply out of touch with reality. The end result is employees put the organization at even more risk.
Sometimes a confluence of economic, cultural and technological trends comes together in way that make being for or against something almost irrelevant. BYOD, like it or not, is one of those trends. The conversation is no longer about whether it’s going to happen, but rather how best to manage a reality that already exists.