Mandatory 'bring your own device' on the horizon, Gartner predicts

Mandatory 'bring your own device' on the horizon, Gartner predicts

Summary: Gartner predicts employees will be expected to provide their own mobile devices for work; foresees more back-end cloud infrastructure to support it. Their advice: keep it simple.


Organizations are no longer attempting to resist the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) tidal wave — they are embracing it. And, in short order, many will even make it a mandatory requirement that their employees have their own mobile devices they can use for work.

iPhone-2 CNET
(Image: CNET)

That's the word from Gartner, which just issued a prediction that 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016. The consultancy foresees organizations even pulling back on reimbursements. Today, Gartner said, roughly half of BYOD programs provide a partial reimbursement, and full reimbursement for all costs will become rare. "Coupling the effect of mass market adoption with the steady declines in carrier fees, employers will gradually reduce their subsidies, and as the number of workers using mobile devices expands, those who receive no subsidy whatsoever will grow," Gartner predicts.

The key is to keep things as simple as possible, said Gartner analyst David Willis:

The enterprise should subsidize only the service plan on a smartphone. What happens if you buy a device for an employee, and they leave the job a month later? How are you going to settle up? Better to keep it simple. The employee owns the device, and the company helps to cover usage costs.

In a separate report, the consultancy predicts the rise of back-end cloud services (platform as a service) that will support mobile application development projects — creating some chaos in IT departments. In the next three years, Gartner said, 40 percent of mobile application development projects will leverage cloud back-end services, "causing development leaders to lose control of the pace and path of cloud adoption within their enterprises".

These cloud services — referred to by some as "mobile back end as a service" — provide back-end capabilities, such as user management, data storage, push notifications, social network integration, and even server-side code.

Conceivably, business users outside of IT will also begin using these services to develop their own apps — especially with the emergence of visual app builders and other forms of rapid mobile application development tools. It all sounds intriguing, but Gartner analysts are expressing concern about the data security implications of these services:

The programmer develops mobile applications using familiar storage programming mechanisms, and the cloud service acts as a black box that stores and retrieves the data as necessary. But as the use of cloud services by mobile applications grows, the challenge of governing the security and use of sensitive corporate data also grows. Left ungoverned, this results in the hidden movement of potentially sensitive data to the cloud, and the possibility of inadequate security.

The consultancy advocates stronger governance of this process, especially since non-IT types will increasingly be part of the mix. Such governance needs to occur at the organization level, beyond what any particular mobile application development platform offers. "Clear policies must be established and communicated to developers prior to the use of cloud mobile back-end services by applications that may access corporate or customer data," said Gartner's Gordon Van Huizen. "It is, therefore, necessary to extend awareness of the issues to the broader organization, as well as the organization's policies for cloud services, so that mobile applications built outside IT are subject to the same oversight and governance as those built within IT."

These issues echo the challenges — and questions — that arose with the advent of "Web 2.0", with the availability of enterprise mashups and other approaches that potentially enabled user-created front-end apps. It's in organizations' best interests to allow creativity and innovation to flourish, as this is what helps build new lines of business. At the same time, there has to be someone watching the back end to guard against security abuses.

Topics: Mobility, Cloud, IT Priorities

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  • No... Just, No...

    I will not be expected to donate my personal money to have a device that they have control over. And they WILL expect to have complete control over it. My wife's company accidentally erased 2100 devices when they were trying to only wipe 1 stolen one, and the rules surrounding BYOD pretty much make it so they can root around as they see fit.

    Would you want your employer to have access to your personal life? I certainly don't...

    No, if they want me to have a device and expect to have access to it as if it's theirs, then they can dang well pay for it.
    • reliable......

      If Gartner says it, then it must be wrong.
      linux for me
      • Not necessarily so

        They've been right...once...I think...
    • Sounds like a security nightmare

      Sure, buy your own work machine, fill it up at home with malware, bring it to work and put it on your work network to infect and/or steal information. The IT department would love that, as well as having to diagnose all the weird problems caused by conflicts between home software and mandatory office software.
    • Just say NO!

      And, as others observed, breaking news from Gartner?
      I would label it funny, but it's not.
  • Mandating it turns win-win into win-lose.

    I've said this before, and I'll keep saying it: Mandating BYOD turns win-win into win-lose. Optional means the employee decides if it is a win or not. Mandatory means the employee will possibly lose, turning a win-win into a win-lose proposition.

    I see a lot of people buying second devices.

    I do not believe this is a step forward.

    And frankly, Gartner "predictions" are not something to aspire to (nor have they been proven to be accurate). I don't know why anybody even pays attention to them anymore.
    • Like all Analysts

      "I don't know why anybody even pays attention to them anymore."

      They exist:

      1. So you can deflect blame. When the company's e-mail system goes tits-up you can say we went with Exchange because Gartner said it was in the "Magic Quadrant".

      2. So you can support your position. No matter what the position is, Gartner has you covered. Also ties into #1.

      3. As a sales tool. Pay them enough money for a "Study" and you'll get some good "street cred".
    • Actually it is a LOSE-LOSE

      There is no win for either party.

      For the employee, it means an extra unpaid expense.
      For the employer, it means much higher legal LIABILITIES and much higher implementation cost for security. So contrary to what the ignorant BYOD proponents claim, there is no part on BYOD that is actually a win for anybody.

      Sure, a few people like the "convenience" of using their own devices. But that is because they completely ignore everything in favor of their own personal convenience. They are the same kind of idiots who would upload company documents to Dropbox just because it is convenient.
  • State Laws

    In many states employers are required to provide everything needed to do the job that a person is hired for at no cost to the employee. This does not apply to outside contractors of course, but any employee it would.

    This includes things like Uniforms, Equipment, etc.

    So, I don't see how an employer could mandate BYOD. If the employee voluntarily offers, then that's on the employee; however, if the employer asks, then it's on the employer.
    • Many jobs require one drives

      and do not include a company car but give you mileage instead. Not sure the Mandatory BYOD is good or bad but also not sure it would be illegal anywhere if you were reimbursed.
      • IT IS illegal...

        Just imagine asking an auto-mechanic to bring his own tool kit from home. Or a surgeon to bring his scalpels and tweezers... Or maybe a baker using his own oven... Anyway. In short, where I live, and that's in Europe, it is MANDATORY that an employer supplies all and every piece of equipment, machinery, material, etc. needed to complete the job. The employee is required to supply workforce and knowledge.
        • Toolkit?

          Not to be picky ;-) but there are still many shops - auto included - where the mechanic is REQUIRED to own/supply his own tools.
        • oops

          Auto mechanics do bring their own basic tool kit. The shop provides the bigger stuff like lifts and jacks, but almost all hand tools are owned and brought to the job by the mechanic. If you work for a dealer, the dealer will probably own SST, special service tool. SSTs are tool specific to a make, model and specific repair.
  • Gartner . . .

    "What happens if you buy a device for an employee and they leave the job a month later?"

    Give the device to the next employee in the position, set up the same arrangement as before. That wasn't so hard to answer. Why does Gartner think it's something more complex?

    "The enterprise should subsidize only the service plan on a smartphone. . . . How are you going to settle up?"

    What's there to "settle up?" If it's not a BYOD device, then the arrangement is between the business and the phone company / carrier. It's not between the phone company / carrier and the employee. Nothing changes, you're just giving the phone to a new employee.

    Gartner: Inventing nonexistent problems for BYOD to solve.
    • Just like the desktop is now

      If the employer wants to pay for a smartphone or other device for COMPANY business, it belongs to the COMPANY. Any company with sense does not want to allow that device to be used for personal data or calls (except for texting the significant other that the employee will be working late), or loading apps of personal preference that may be loaded with malware. And if the phone is at home, and it rings while the employee is in another room, who could resist yelling out, "Honey, can you get that? The unlock PIN is XXXX"?

      If the company wants the employee to buy his/her own device, then it BELONGS to the employee, even if he/she leaves the company. Then, the data on the device is "loose" and can be given or sent to others, or used as an "off the record qualification" for the next job (of course, this may violate non-disclosure agreements, but the ex-employer would have to go to court to PROVE it, and by that time, the new employer's copy of the data would be mixed in with their own databases, and the employee's phone copy government-wiped).

      Companies that install remote wipe software on an employee-owned phone or tablet may be liable for damages if the employee's PERSONAL data, pictures, identity numbers, etc. are copied (i.e. stolen) or erased by a former employer.

      The best practice is to keep the employer's data and the employee's data separate, and that means one device for company business, paid for by the company, and one for the employee's personal business, if he/she chooses to get one. This implies separate service plans, as well. Quit or lose your job, turn in the company phone. It has no data belonging to you, and you still have your own phone with your own data and no company data.

      By the way, even a decade ago, public employees (even elected officials) in a number of US jurisdictions were being terminated (or impeached) with lots of bad publicity for using their City/County/State phones to make ONE personal call outside of duty hours. And remember the charges in the media that Vice President Gore was soliciting campaign funds with phone calls from his office in the White House? Similar charges in the media have been raised from that day to this, of officials at all levels and of both parties.

      The comparisons to mileage in lieu of a company car, or mechanics buying their own general hand tool overlook the following: unless a personal car had to be painted with the company logo, and the company would not pay to restore its original paint job; or a mechanic's personal tools were irreversibly modified by the employer to make them unusable by the mechanic on another job; the situation is not the same, since company contact lists and other data have to be SELECTIVELY wiped upon leaving, along with stored company credentials such as VPN access codes, WITHOUT harming the employee's personal data, and this may not be possible (especially with a dishonest employee copying individual data elements into files named to indicate they contain personal data).

      Just like the desktop is handled now: you work in an office and need a workstation on your desk, the company pays, orders, installs, and loads with what YOUR job needs; you may or may not have a PC/Mac of your OWN at home. In the "olden" days when I had to use my own computer for off-hour access, I had to have a combination of company software installed, and a company access account. After leaving one job, the leftover software was quite difficult to remove (and was, of course, useless with a cancelled access number), but I managed. Fortunately, that is less of a problem now, since a company owned laptop could be taken home and brought back to the office.
  • Does anyone listen to Gartner anymore?

  • BYOD

    Then I bring in a 10 yr old laptop running XP, Office 2003! I'm retiring in 2016 anyway.
    Buying a phone is no different than buying a computer for the employee, it is not theirs to do with as they please, it belongs to the company. When the employee leaves, it is left behind! Yes your company might have an extra phone around, if that person was important they might be replaced and the phone is issued to them.
  • Really???

    I thought the only people that still listened to Gartner were out of touch, somewhat clueless CIO's...I carry two phones, one for work and one for personal...I WIIL NEVER mix my business and personal devices...if I need a device for a work, the company can buy the thing...period, end of that line of thinking, a bulldozer operator should have to buy his/her own bulldozer...morons...
  • I doubt it

    Are they going to say you have to provide your own iPnone, BB phone or particular Android device?
    Susan Antony
  • Gartner analyst DavId Willis is out of touch!

    Mandate employees to bring in a smartphone?!!! I can see a lot of employees saying "forget it". As well, this analyst completely ignores the fact that most of the devices are subsidized by the plans. So if you allow an employees to own the device but not the plan, you just gave them a $500 device that you end up paying for with the usage fee. Gartner should pay attention to the analysts they hire! Makes the whole outfit look like a bunch of morons.