Bring your own device (BYOD). It’s probably one of the most popular jargon/trends for IT today along with cloud and anything Apple. There are many differing opinions about BYOD and its affect on business and those opinions are typically polarizing.
At my previous employer, the concept of BYOD was commonly referred to as the consumerization of IT. It was a threat to the enterprise and everything it stood for. It took control of the environment away from IT managers. While that’s a bit dramatic, this is really what it comes down to. BYOD is about end-users getting control of information and receiving on what, when and how they want it.
It’s a scary concept for many organizations today; especially in today’s world of information leakage, hackers and more. There are so many different areas of consideration when looking at BYOD and they all pose differing opportunities and risk:
- Do you do a split cost on a laptop and let the end-user choose what they buy?
- Who owns the device?
- Who owns the data?
- How do you control the flow of information?
- How do you secure that information?
- Is it for personal computers only?
- Do you allow employees to use their own device to access information?
- Do you create a list of ‘approved’ laptops they can choose from?
- Do you outfit your entire workforce with Smartphones provided by and paid for by the company?
- What about tablets?
The list goes on. And for some enterprises, the concept is a nightmare when looking at it purely from a hardware management standpoint. The main problem with BYOD from a hardware perspective is that it becomes a support issue. If the organization isn’t standardized on a subset of specific hardware that is common across the enterprise, the cost of internal support for employees can skyrocket.
It’s why vendors like Lenovo, HP, Dell and others bid on big-business and offer commercial-grade PCs for those organizations. Business customers need to control costs and standardizing on a platform allows them to do that. If every person in an organization is using a different brand and configuration of PC, troubleshooting becomes extremely problematic. Where in standardized environments, common issues for a given platform would be known and faster to address, it’s next to impossible in the BYOD scenario.
This is likely the reason why most enterprise organizations will never push BYOD for PCs. These devices are the productivity lifeblood of the company and have to be the first and main point of control for the business.
But that’s really only the tip of the ice berg once you start to introduce other devices into the mobile ecosystems of an organization.
We’ll continue this discussion in my next post. In the meantime feel free to share your BYOD thoughts and experiences below.