BYOD Acceptance Grows, but It Is Far from Universal

Carl Weinschenk

The image surrounding the fundamental change facing IT during the next year or so - the consumerization of IT/bring your own device (BYOD) - has generally been that IT departments are shaking in fear as these new and security-challenged devices invade their organizations, which previously were as pristine as the clean rooms at NASA.

That may not be the case. A study by Avanade, as described by eWeek:

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BYOD: User Policy Considerations

Questions and key points companies should consider when establishing BYOD policies.

Approximately 60 percent of companies are adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employees' personal devices instead of restricting how employees can use them, Avanade found. Nearly 90 percent of the business leaders said they are aware that employees are already using personal technology for work purposes, and 65 percent of C-level executives in the survey consider the growing use of employee-owned technology as a top priority in their organization.

The feeling is by no means unanimous. Cisco - in a survey I referenced in a post about tablets last week- found that the idea is far from popular. Indeed, almost half of IT folks asked were against letting employees use their own devices.


Chris Knotts, the vice president of technology and innovation at Force3, is fully in tune with the idea that BYOD is here to stay. Among the ideas for doing it effectively, according to Knotts, are strong policies, virtualization of key programs and segmentation of mobile devices onto a separate network. Knotts sums it up nicely:

For IT executives, the bottom line is that within any enterprise, you most likely have a user base that wants to use personal technology on the job - some of whom are probably your best employees. To maintain a productive and secure workplace, you need to find ways to support them.
Your alternative, frankly, is a bunch of annoyed employees who will try to get their personal devices onto the network anyway, and may wind up breaking windows in the effort.

Security, danger emanating from lost or stolen devices and the diversion of IT resources are the key rationales for opposing the trend. But, of course, not liking something is not synonymous with it not happening:

Despite all of this, 57 percent of IT managers acknowledged that some employees use personal devices at work without consent.

In general, IT seems to be doing a good job with BYOD - much of the sector actually is embracing it, while others accept its inevitability. Vendors are pitching in, most notably with the change in focus from securing devices to securing data.

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