Great Debate: Bring your own device

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | October 17, 2011 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Is Bring Your Own Device only a great idea until you try to manage it? Ken Hess and Heather Clancy each make their case in this week's debate.

Ken Hess

Ken Hess



Pipe Dream

Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy

Best Argument: Reality

Closing Statements

BYOD is an inevitable reality

Ken Hess

Companies must decrease overhead costs without sacrificing product and service quality. There's a tremendous cost layout made for end user devices, for software, and for support. One significant way to lower costs is to allow employees to bring their own devices (laptops, smart phones, tablets) to work and use them.

Mobile provisioning and management technologies which include carrier-supported mobile hypervisors will be as disruptive to devices as VMWare has been to the data center. Once the technologies become widely available, the deployments will follow because at the end of the day, enterprises are cheap and any cost-saving technology is going to be embraced. In fact, VMware and Verizon announced yesterday that they're teaming up on mobile virtualization technology to solve this problem for enterprises.

Win, lose or draw on the debate, BYOD is an inevitable reality.

Choose - not bring - your own device

Heather Clancy

Businesses should absolutely realize productivity benefits by outfitting their employees with the latest mobile technologies, including smartphones, tablets and notebooks. It makes sense for workers to have a say in selecting those products, because then they are more likely to use them.

Plus, your IT team might be turned on to features and applications that it might not otherwise have considered as a “business” application. But your organization is asking for a support and management nightmare, if it chooses to support every mobile technology owned by workers.

Security is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need to define policies for technical support, for software patch updates, for application distribution – pretty much everything your team is already responsible for doing. So, honestly, what is the
point of ceding ownership?

Rather than “bring your own device,” it should be “choose your own device.” That way, your IT organization will still have control.

Winner: Ken Hess

Lawrence Dignan

While Heather highlighted all the issues with bring your own device schemes, Ken had technologies that could cure those ills. The argument was very close, but in the end I went with Ken. BYOD will happen and it's quite possible that IT will have no choice but to play along.

Doc's final thoughtsIN PARTNERSHIP WITH Ricoh


Doc strongly agrees with Ken on this one. My employer now expects me to be available 24/7 and connected to my work no matter where I go or where I am. In exchange for that sort of servitude, I should at least get to pick my communications device of choice. The lines between home and work are extremely blurred these days, and it isn’t realistic to expect employees to be tethered to two separate devices. Sorry Heather, but Doc thinks you’ve overblown the security and other IT management issues – and by the way, how’s that Blackberry service working for you?

It’s true that BYOD has created some headaches for IT managers, but those are likely to be temporary. Where there is a need for enterprise software and hardware management, there is someone working on a solution. Doc is already aware of several enterprise-grade applications to help organizations securely manage a diverse mobile infrastructure. Plus, Doc is willing to bet that employees are more productive when they’re using a device of their choice, one that they are comfortable with and know how to use effectively. And today, productivity is the name of the game—we’re all doing three people’s jobs.

And let’s face it, does it really make sense for companies to standardize around a single platform anymore? That’s a recipe for disaster, as the recent Blackberry outages have shown. We strive for diversity in the workplace -- technology shouldn’t be any different. Mobile management has become part of the IT infrastructure, and it’s just something IT professionals are going to have to deal with. If you get the right enterprise tools then BYOD doesn’t have to be so scary. And by the way, Doc will give up his iPhone when my employer pries it from my cold, dead fingers. And I’m not going to carry two smartphones with me like so many poor saps have to do today. That’s absurd.


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  • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device

    the only way to manage BYOD is to pusblish a catalog of possible devices that the company could manage, I'm not sure there is any platform capable ot manage BYOD, maybe Afaria from SAP?

    The risk is high and maybe we could have a try by making a copy of some leasing/renting models used in company cars. When you have a car leased by your company you can select some models without no cost and if you want something better pay an extra. Int is case for the employee it would be cheaper and for the company it would be easier to control all these devices.

    It's true that a company can only control a limited catalog of products but it's a way to be in the middle, cause no one want to carry two mobiles or an personal tablet and a company laptop as me ;-)
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device

      @antonio.vacas I will gladly carry two devices. I would much rather carry a second phone that have work calls on my personal line. I already carry two laptops, and that's the way I prefer it.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device

        I personally carry one laptop and one phone, however my company allows me to get any phone on my dime, but they pay for the service, so I can swap my to whatever phone strikes my fancy. As far as the laptop I have laptop that makes it easy to swap out the hard drive, so I have a "work" hard drive that includes all the apps I use at work and all the security including active directory logins. And when I go home I shut it down and swap to my "home" hard drive without the restrictions of work. I keep the spare (work or home) drive in an an USB external case, so in case I just need files from either drive I can just can just plug it in. The swap operation takes about two minutes and that includes shut down and start up of the OS.
        Reply Vote I'm for Pipe Dream
    • One size doesn't fit all, but a limited set of options can.

      I've read all the feedback here and have two points to make. 1. Some seem to think this is an all or nothing decision and today it is not. We do this for consultants today and seeing our capabilities increase I can see a day that BYOD will work for employees as well. This is happening today with smartphones, but as several have noted, we only support a couple with iOS and BB for secure access to this data. BB is not BYOD as it does not support that model at all. iOS though, as long as not jailbroken, is easy to segment corporate data from personal and to ensure home backup is encrypted and secured. These models do not satisfy all users but are very controlled for IT. 2. However, beyond smartphones and tablets to PC is quite a different story. We are also doing this with vendors and some trials with employees, but there are difficulties with this as many have identified. The point I wanted to add is that all VDI are not created equal. I've participated in our pilots of VDI and another local JVM based image called MOKA5. The issues with VDI have been pointed out by several with specific use cases, however, MOKA5, or similar, can address some of this from image control, remote/disconnected use, and latency sensitivity VDI can experience. Hope this helps those considering this concept.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device


        Great comment.

        I just want to note that we use Blackberry Server Express for out BYOD Blackberry users and with the Balance policy policies it works very nicely, even nicer is the server, CAL are 100% free.

        Balance allows you to pull back any data that is tagged as corporate so when employees leave you only need to pull back this data. No other solution is as clean at the moment.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • We did it, we're dropping it

    After providing a BYOT program for the past year we will likely be shutting it down soon.

    Employee feedback the past few months the main concerns:

    1. Lack of employee interest (our program is not subsidized)
    2. Increased employee cost (international data usage)
    3. Ongoing concerns over personal "space" and needing to adhere to corporate security
    4. Limited to salary employees (bulk of mobile users are hourly / contractor)
    5. Unable to use corporate WiFi due to long standing security policy
    6. Not able to support every device users want
    7. Remote erase /password enforcement
    8. Need for extended warrenty (laptops)
    9. No loaner if laptop / tablet breaks

    At the end of this, it was a wash cost wise. Users want to use their own tech, but have no security and corporate to foot the whole bill. In that case we might as well stay corporate liable.

    Employees who value separation of work / personal usage need to suck it up and carry two devices or accept restrictions. show more show less
    Reply Vote I'm for Pipe Dream
    • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device


      Well, if you set it up with all the restrictions you mention in your message, no wonder it didn't work out. It looks like you/your company missed an opportunity...
      Reply Vote I'm for Reality
      • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device


        Blame our HR / Law / Compliance departments who made the BYOD policy.

        BYOD's main issues are related to compensation, compliance and privacy. The technology portion of it is very easy to enable.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Looks like lose/lose to me

    The company gets the added cost and risk of protecting equipment essentially outside it's control. The employees get the added stress of avoiding activities that might get them in trouble at work while at home on their personal equipment. This is good for who?<br><br>But it's on it's way in our company, like it or not.
    Reply Vote I'm for Reality
  • RE: Great Debate: Bring your own device

    Here is a solution that satisfies both. Particularly from a Desktop/Laptop/Tablet standpoint:

    Build a corporate VM image with corporate Software rules and force all machines to use it, that way you have a standard. If you have an employee that uses a macbook, fine, they just access your work network through a VM, and sit on public wifi in their normal machine like you would treat a vendor or contractor.

    I am a consultant and most customers prefer this method. Its on me to provide a machine, and if I have issues, they just reload the image on whatever I provide,
    Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided