Is the enterprise ready for BYOD?

Is the enterprise ready for BYOD?

Summary: For the longest time I have seen friends and colleagues carrying two phones, or a phone and a Blackberry, or two smartphones. Why?


For the longest time I have seen friends and colleagues carrying two phones, or a phone and a Blackberry, or two smartphones. Why?

This is the case because, like one of my former employers, in an effort to save money, provided users with devices that were only half enabled. To save money, some time back, many firms either turned off the voice capability of a Blackberry or simply provided employees with the least expensive phone available as an alternative. Like many of my cohorts, I too opted to carry my own device and paid for it fully.

With IT budgets continuing to decrease and users having to make due with less, many users are left wanting more from their insufficient IT tools. The cost of consumer devices continues to decrease, as functionality, power, and accessibilty increases. In the past, tech savvy users understood how to work around IT controls and use these tools in a business context. This is the backdrop to the adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement across the enterprise. The idea that many of us have better smartphones, better laptops, better tablets, and desktops than an employer would typically provide is driving the BYOD movement.

From an organization’s point of view, they are trading a capital expense for an operational expense and they are betting that the operational expense will be lower and that supporting all of these devices will pay off. But are they ready for the varied hardware platforms and applications that are housed on those systems? According to Gartner in The Impact of Mobile Devices on Enterprise Management, new application platforms and application delivery methods will require the IT organization to respond with new device management approaches.

As a first step toward BYOD, allowing employees to bring their mobile devices to work is a no-brainer. In fact, many organizations have plans in place with limited support. The organization will support the application needed to connect and pull down email for example, but not provide assistance for other consumer applications. But there is a down side to this model and clearly delineates the line on support: if, for example, I type in the wrong password three times, and the device locks, it is not as simple as calling the helpdesk to reset my password. To unlock it requires a full reset.

Resetting a smartphone is not very dramatic as it is backed up, typically, on a computer somewhere. The only loss is the time it takes to get the phone back. This is not the case with a laptop. How many of us back up our devices? Even if you have a Mac with Time Capsule, how many Mac users purchased a separate hard drive? Not many. And if there is no back up facility, then you just lost everything on that device. That is a significant hurdle.

What can organizations do to make their BYOD programs successful?

Do not just extend existing policies or existing security awareness programs to include policies to support employee purchased devices. To succeed organizations will need to reassess existing models to accommodate iPhone, Android, Linux, Macs, and tablets in addition to Blackberries and Windows desktops. Gartner suggests that most enterprises will likely need to adopt a layered approach that extends from loose management via written guidelines through tightly managed mobile environments depending on the end user constituency and related legal compliance and security risks.

What can users expect from their BYOD programs?

First, we will need to start using a password lock on our mobile devices. Also, the passwords will need to be as strong as those required in the enterprise, if not the same that is used in the enterprise. Count on these having to be reset every few months. The down side here is convenience. For me, I can no longer access data on the fly, I need to stop and enter my very long password before doing anything other than answering an incoming call or place an emergency call.

Second, your employer will have to find a way to manage these non-Windows. New best practices will need to be developed. Simply installing anti-virus and malware software on your system and down loading a VPN client and keeping OS patches current will not suffice. New ideas are needed, and changes in the management of end-user technology are needed, according to Gartner. The status quo is not an option.

More to come…stay tunned.

Let me know what your organization is doing with regard to BYOD.

Topics: Consumerization, Data Centers, Microsoft, Mobility, Enterprise 2.0

Gery Menegaz

About Gery Menegaz

Gery Menegaz is a Chief Architect for IBM with more than 20 years supporting technologies in the financial, medical, pharmaceutical, insurance, legal and education sectors. My Full-Time Employer is IBM. I write as a freelancer for ZDNet.

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  • A different perspective

    I did not start to carry my own phone the corporate-provided device was gimped, but for the more practical reason that I could use it without restriction for personal use. Sometimes my personal device would be better than the corporate one, sometimes not. It really wasn't until the smartphone era hit that corporate offerings lagged to the point where I didn't really want to use their devices at all. And, often, there was no need, either.

    However, BYOD is turning into a paycut. My previous employer (since acquired by my current one) payed $120 a month stipend for using my own phone. My current employer dropped this allowance to $40, then, because some uncapped individuals abused their benefit, they scrapped it altogether, offering instead corporate-owned devices. We have the option to use our own phone, but we will only be reimbursed if actual business use exceeds whatever limits are on our rate plan. My business use is rather minimal -- occasional, short calls (not lengthy conference calls like with the previous company) and email. Since I do not wish to carry a second phone, I let them put a policy on the phone allowing them to nuke it from orbit at their discretion.

    Phones are the only personally-owned equipment allowed to be used with the corporate network. Even the VPN can only be accessed via corporate owned devices. Tablets and phones are not permitted on the WLAN nor can they otherwise be connected to the corporate network (say, via VPN). Considering the security standards we must keep, I do not think this will ever change -- no matter how much the company would like to stop providing equipment to their employees, there is just no way at present time that this could be a practical solution to anything.
    • Paycuts

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like you, my device was always better than what an employer was willing to supply. I experienced much the same, with pay cuts for phone and Internet access over the years. Employers are expecting more from less, which is driving this movement.
  • This is a slippery slope...

    and all the users that keep requesting their devices on the network are enabling these giant megarich corporations to take advantage of the average joe. I absolutely refuse to load my company email on my personal phone, although I certainly have the "priveledge" to do so at anytime. If the company wants me to carry something to be reachable at all times, they will provide it to me. Why people like to empty their pockets to help fill some fat cat's is beyond me.
    • Please ignore my terrible spelling of "privileged"

      damn edit button is gone!
    • 24/7

      I agree. Many are resentful and see themselves as being on call 24/7.
  • TOP 5 android smartphones

    www.ok2phone.comTop five android smartphone
    TOP 5 - Sony Ericsson Xperia neo MT15i

    The bright spot model: the Android 2.3 operating system, 1GHz clock speed processor, 480 × 854 pixel resolution, a 8.1 million pixel camera, Sony Ericsson Xperia the neo MT15i (hereinafter referred to as MT15i), faced with the overall price situation in HTC, MT15i played markdowns banner, this phone has dropped to $400, the price is quite tempting. Cheap achievements MT15i, and also let it become the market's most popular smart phones of $400 level.

    TOP 4 - Sony Ericsson X8

    Models bright spot: 99 × 54 × 15 mm body measurements, 480 × 320 pixel resolution, the android smartphone operating system, 3.2-megapixel cameras, ranked fourth in the sales list this month Sony Ericsson X8 It is a compact mini-smartphones, 99.0 × 54.0 × 15.0 mm, body measurements to make it excellent grip handle. In addition, a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, as well as the Sony Ericsson system excellent optimization to ensure the speed of the mobile phone.

    TOP 3 - HTC Desire

    Sony Ericsson X8 positive with a 3.0 inches 480 × 320 pixels capacitive screen, the actual display can be considered quite satisfactory. In addition, a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, as well as the Sony Ericsson system excellent optimization to ensure the speed of the mobile phone. Desire (G7) can be said that HTC's classic, mainstream hardware configuration, as well as law-abiding, shape design make it very popular with young and trendy family favorite, excellent sales has brought huge profits for the HTC.

    TOP 2 - HTC Wildfire S

    The bright spot model: the Android 2.3 system, 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, 512MB RAM, stylish compact body appearance, 320 × 480 pixel resolution, 5 megapixel camera. By virtue of lower market prices, as well as mainstream android smartphone operating system, HTC Wildfire S in the market by some low-end users of all ages, it is also by virtue of this, this phone can be squeezed into the top two.

    TOP 1 - HTC Incredible S

    Models bright spot: 1GHz clock speed processor, the android smartphone 2.2 operating system, 768MB RAM, 8-megapixel camera, 480 × 800 pixel resolution. HTC Incredible S is a strong performance smart phones, 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and 768MB RAM as the machine's biggest selling point, since the market sentiment has been high. Perhaps by HTCSensation, Desire HD models, this phone has a certain decline, but integrated to look at the price is still slightly high, and specifically how to choose the needed combination personal economic and other factors considered.
  • MAM for BYOD

    Gery, interesting read. As a Symantec employee focused on mobile security and management, I keyed in on your comments near the end about what employers will need to do to address security in a BYOD world. I suggest mobile application management (MAM) technology. MAM enables companies to completely avoid device-level management of user-owned devices and instead implement application and data-level management by “wrapping” each of their corporate apps and the data tied to them in their own security and management layers. This gives enterprises complete control of their apps and data while leaving the rest of the user-owned devices they are on and also users’ experiences with those devices untouched. It provides a clear separation of management over the corporate apps and information and the user-owned devices themselves.

    Spencer Parkinson
    • MAM is critical

      Thanks, Spencer. MAM is key to supporting many device types. It's what RIM had going for it and what made it an enterprise worthy device. Appreciate your post.
  • Device management support is sorely lacking

    Vendors don't appear to be moving quickly enough on this topic. Understood that the main point is getting product out the door, yet corporate friendly tools would encourage brand loyalty. Would rather be on a companies approval list than not at all.

    A principal reasons the Blackberry model survives is the device management features. Secure email probably ranks highest, yet virtually full device control comes in at a close second.

    Personally, never a fan of BYOD. You end up doing a lot of fiddling (proxies, VPNs, etc.) to switch between corporate and personal settings. Give me the corporate phone and laptop and be done with it. Besides, less chance of confiscating my BYOD by subpoena if requested by Legal.
    Tired Tech
    • Lacking Support

      Managing all of those consumer devices could be a nightmare. I like the idea of having a corp phone and laptop, but what they are providing today is weak.
  • BYOD is more than just devices but its all about the apps

    Agree that bet practices still need to be developed as the BYOD trend evolves. However the main issue here isn't just about being about to lock down the physical device - but it's all about the apps. Users use a variety of apps on their smart phones to communicate, share and collaborate with others, but a lot of times many mobile applications don't meet the security requirements and access to company data isn't controlled.
  • Data protection

    I don't know how it is in the USA with data protection, but here, in Europe, personally identifiable information is a very hot topic (email addresses, phone numbers with a name associated with them, personnel records etc.).

    The CEO and CTO, as well as the employee, are personally responsible for seeing that this information is kept within the company and cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals - either employees or third parties.

    That makes BYOD a real headache. If you use your own device, you not only have to have a password on it, but you cannot let your spouse, kids or friends have access to the device either. The Contacts app now contains company owned personally identifiable information, for example, so you can't let your spouse dredge through the contacts looking for an old friend's number they deleted from their addressbook.

    That also means that storing company contacts in iCloud, Google Mail, Live etc. for easy synchronisation is illegal - the contacts could be stored outside the EU, which is illegal and, because Google, Apple and Microsoft (and pretty much any other cloud provider) have offices in the USA, they fall under the Patriot Act and have to hand over the data on request, even if it is stored in the EU.

    If they do that, the user and his CEO and CTO are personally liable to prosecution, fines and imprisonment, if it comes to light that the cloud provider has handed over personally identifiable data to the FBI etc. in the USA - the data can only be handed over to a third party outside the EU with the written permission of the personally identifiable person, which the FBI did not collect, and because the cloud provider is not allowed to inform the user that their data has been compromised, they are not even aware that there has been a data breach and they could end up in prison!

    On another topic, when it comes to Windows, the employee also has to ensure that they have Windows Professional (or Ultimate), if they want to connect to the company network. Most computers not sold directly for business use come with Windows Home on it, because it is cheaper and most people don't have their own domain controller at home.

    Macs and Linux machines are easier on this point, they can all be added to a domain, it might not be easy (Lion has a bug which needs workarounds, which are complicated), but it is possible.