BYO device strategy see uptake

Consumerization of IT leading more companies to embrace "bring-your-own" devices strategy with many already formulating policies to manage these disparate devices, Citrix exec says.
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

Organizations are now more receptive toward adopting a "bring-your-own" (BYO) device strategy as more employees use their personal devices to access business-related data, a Citrix executive noted. In fact, many are formulating management policies to accommodate these devices within the enterprise space.  

Citrix CIO Paul Martine said corporations' response to consumerization of IT used to be "denial and refusal" but IT heads are realizing that they cannot stop their employees from using personal devices within work environments. Rather, they are more concerned over how to manage these "rogue devices" and keep their networks secure at the same time, he noted during an interview Friday.

His observation stems from a survey commissioned by Citrix, which was released on Wednesday. In the survey that polled 700 CIOs across seven markets, 92 percent indicated that they were aware employees have been using personal devices in the workplace.

Of the 92 percent, 28 percent of CIOs said employees used their devices for work-related tasks, and this figure is expected to rise to 35 percent in 2013, the survey stated. Additionally, 44 percent of those polled said their companies already have a formal BYO device policy in place but this will rise to 94 percent in two years' time.

This flexibility of allowing staff to use their personal devices for work had a positive impact on employees' satisfaction according to 57 percent of the CIOs interviewed while 52 percent said productivity improved.

Going virtual to support BYO
To these statistics, Martine said the results were "interesting, not surprising and consistent".

He then suggested companies should adopt desktop virtualization to centrally manage and secure their employees' desktops, applications and corporate data, which he said is "more secure".

For mobile devices such as Apple's iPhones and Android-powered devices, for example, users simply need to install a "receiver" in the device and, once their access have been authenticated, will receive corporate applications and documents served to these devices by the company's central server via a VPN connection, he explained.

An additional two-factor authentication is required when logging in from unknown Wi-Fi hotspots, the executive noted.

"We don't manage the device but the services that we deliver. By doing this, employees are allowed to choose any device that they want to use," Martine explained.

Furthermore, the personal data on the user's device cannot be accessed by the company, he said. The data center will only send out information and apps to users but once they disconnect, the data resides in the backend and not on the endpoint device, he added.

Already, there is an increasing number of companies formalizing BYO policies and deciding what applications should be virtualized and the type of access given to different employees, he revealed.

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