BYOD: Five things businesses and IT need to know

BYOD: Five things businesses and IT need to know

Summary: Businesses must find secure, efficient ways to give employees access to corporate assets, while protecting data and business operations.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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Commentary - The concept commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is trending. As the number of people accustomed to selecting and using their own devices and technology grows, companies must figure out ways to accommodate decentralization and loss of control. With this growing trend, CIO and IT decision makers are feeling pressure to transform their organizations to address the top-down push by executives and bottom-up demand by knowledge workers to support the consumerization of enterprise IT.

While businesses can save money by letting employees buy and support their own devices, they must then find secure, efficient ways to give employees access to corporate assets, while protecting data and business operations.

It’s clear that BYOD will continue to capture headlines, be the topic of executive meetings and create shifts within IT departments everywhere. So how do IT professionals ensure that their business and IT departments are ready for this shift? Here are the top five things they need to know:

Sign off
Decide if you want to have employees sign a waiver or contract in order to enforce password protection, anti-virus installation, and any other security measures to protect company data.

Support groups
With the decentralization of the device must come the decentralization of the support model for that device. The proliferation of BYOD necessitates the company’s IT support organization to adopt community support practices. It is unlikely that a traditional service desk organization will have the bandwidth or knowledge necessary to support a variety of devices. This would be immediately unscalable.

The beauty of BYOD is that employees no longer expect support from IT. They know how to get help elsewhere, allowing IT to focus on transformative activity that actually matters to the business. Social IT support and collaboration principles and technologies can help employees help themselves and each other. Support an environment where individuals can ask for help and get help. This evolved support model should act as a support facilitator by curating this content and making it searchable.

Choose your (de)vice
Traditional, platform-dependent software applications will create technology and data compatibility issues for the business. IT organizations must begin to ease the transition now by moving to cloud-based, platform-agnostic, extremely accessible applications now. In the meantime anticipate glitches and performance deviations while application modernization makes its way through the enterprise.

Terms & conditions
Will the company compose a BYOD terms & conditions contract about how the device can be used outside of work? This approach is a bit misguided. The business should spend more time worrying about the data and less time worrying about the device. A contract will create unnecessary work for the business and privacy concerns for employees.

Price limit
Determine how personal devices will be expensed. Will employees be responsible for all technology costs and maintenance, or will the company be expected to reimburse? If the company will be covering devices, is there going to be a price limit? For phone usage, how will the company differentiate between work-related phone charges and personal phone calls? Simplify the solution to any of these potentially tricky scenarios for best results.

It is clear that the BYOD movement is here to stay and will increasingly become more pervasive in business. So the question is: how will your business benefit from BYOD while still maintaining compliant, efficient and cost-effective ways to set employees and their productivity and technology free.

biography
Brian Hollandsworth is a product marketing manager with ServiceNow. His 20+ years of experience span Customer Service, Technical Support, Consulting, and Management. Follow him on Twitter @ITSMBrian"

Topic: Mobility

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7 comments
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  • You have one thing wrong...

    "The beauty of BYOD is that employees no longer expect support from IT". Wrong.
    cwestmark
  • Good luck

    Good luck maintaining any kind of decent corporate security when everyone will be bringing in and connecting their personal devices to the corporate network. The way most employees treat their smartphones and tablets as toys, they just position them to be stolen. So much for keeping "corporate secrets" secret.
    TsarNikky
  • thoughts

    "Decide if you want to have employees sign a waiver or contract in order to enforce password protection, anti-virus installation, and any other security measures to protect company data."

    In other words, decide whether or not you want to kill all of their photos and personal data if you feel like it, and force them to use their personal device as a work device. With the threat of firing them, if necessary.

    Frankly, this is an argument against the BYOD hypothesis.

    "The beauty of BYOD is that employees no longer expect support from IT."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Uhh, really?

    You'd be surprised what people will expect, then.

    You installed YOUR software on it, and you may be implementing YOUR policies on it. They will want YOUR support for that because they will blame YOU if their phone gets messed up now.

    "Choose your (de)vice"

    Have fun with that. The whole point of BYOD is that you [b]don't[/b] get to choose your device.

    "Determine how personal devices will be expensed."

    [b]STRAIGHT FROM THE POCKETS OF YOUR EMPLOYEES. WHICH THEY WILL LIKELY HATE.[/b]

    The whole point of BYOD is to pretend you're saving money by pushing the expenses from your balance sheets to your employees' paychecks. If you're paying for the devices, you might as well not have a BYOD policy to begin with.

    "It is clear that the BYOD movement is here to stay"

    No, it's not. It's not clear at all. Give me the proof that it really is here to stay. Frankly, I think it's a bad fad.
    CobraA1
  • Users expect support

    We've had a BYOD program for about 2 years now and I can firmly say the whole "crowd sourced support network" is a pipe dream. The "techie" people that are needed to cultivate this culture have already too much work to do and are not going on company blogs, forums and helping people with their smartphone issues. The percent of people that understand how to actually use their mobile technology is quite low. We have employees who cannot remember their iTunes account password. Every company will be different and those more technology focused will likely have more technical capable employees. It's also not a Gen Y thing as most young people I run into only know how to tweet and facebook and don't bother getting into the "guts" of technology.

    We support the Apps we install (MDM, Citrix etc) and nothing more. Issues with your device, your wireless plan, accessories etc are all on the employee to resolve. All BYOD devices are viewed as a convience.

    Pretty much all companies are now viewing BYOD as a means to shift cost to employees. I think this is wrong and a key reason BYOD efforts will stall. Employees are wising up to the extra expenses that they now have to pay, exspecially those that had a corporate liable device that paid for roaming, international, tethering / hotspot. All that adds expense to their data plan. You also have the new data bucket model which just kills BYOD, it was easy when everyone had a "unlimited" bucket and a static cost, those days are going away and employees are understanding how fast data is consumed. I think its key companies provide a subsidy to cover some data cost for staying connected to work, the company is reaping the benefit of a mobile workforce and saving on hardware expense.

    The other side is the big brother element. As soon as employees read all the legal and HR terms and conditions to use their own device they lose interest real quick.

    I agree it's a fad, but one employees will likely not have a choice for soon and be mandatory at most companies. When that day comes my work day will end when I go home.
    MobileAdmin
  • Why employees want to BYOD

    Employees are motivated by wanting the have the best devices available - primarily the most popular devices in the market - iPhones mostly. As others have said, the device cost avoided by BYOD are more than offset by other costs incurred by the organization to support a variety of BYOD devices. IT can stay ahead of the curve by aggressively offering the latest devices and having a frequent, and published, refresh cycle. IT should be an enabler, not the obstacle in enabling the business community obtain the devices that they desire. The key here is to task the business units with the responsibility for funding and approving individuals to obtain devices, not IT. Who will want to BYOD if you have the current device provided by your business unit? Cybersecurity is becoming too important to compromise, along with the increased cost of supporting BYOD. As always assessing the TCO and communicating (marketing) that message to the entire organization will go along way toward achieving satisfaction for most employees
    DanAbell
    • thoughts

      "Employees are motivated by wanting the have the best devices available"

      This something you construed just to make yourself feel better about BYOD? Or is this something you can provide evidence for?

      Sure, it's nice to have nice gadgets. But the question is whether you're willing to give up control over them.

      "the device cost avoided by BYOD . . ."

      You mean placed upon the worker's paycheck instead of the company's paycheck.

      "IT can stay ahead of the curve by aggressively offering the latest devices . . ."

      We are talking BYOD, right? If your IT department is offering devices, it's not BYOD.
      CobraA1
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