One in five BYOD programs destined to fail due to overly restrictive MDM policies

Enterprise CIOs are racing to implement mobile device management technologies and policies to facilitate BYOD, but a new Gartner report suggests that 20 percent of these programs will eventually fail because these measures are too restrictive.
Written by Larry Barrett, Contributor on

Balancing convenience and functionality with compliance and security figures to be the bane of CIOs and IT managers for the foreseeable future as more and more personal devices and consumer-centric applications further entrench themselves in the enterprise.

Companies are spending a lot of time and money on mobile device management applications, elaborate BYOD policies and security protocols to at least attempt to bring order to their IT environments while simultaneously rolling out new mobile applications that drive profits and productivity at the price of further complicating their security challenges.

But a new Gartner report predicts that by 2016 about 20 percent of companies will ultimately fail to find the proper balance between these dueling priorities.

"Given the control that IT has exercised over personal computers by developing and deploying images to company-managed PCs, many IT organizations will implement strong controls for mobile devices," Ken Dulaney, a Gartner vice president, said in the report.

Indeed, companies are expanding their budgets for mobile security at a breakneck pace. ABI Research predicts total expenditures for mobile security management applications and services will double by 2015 to more than $1 billion.

But all this additional security and oversight - along with the inherent implementation and support issues - can cause a bigger problem with the employees who know or expect that IT organizations will also have access to their personal information once their mobile devices are brought under their employer's MDM umbrella.

"As a result, employees are becoming sensitive to giving IT organizations access to personal devices and demanding solutions that isolate personal content from business content and restrict the ability of the IT organization to access or change personal content and applications," according to the report.

The fact that 15 percent of mobile-device users store their password details - personal and business alike - on their smartphones and that one in three don't use a PIN or password to safeguard access to their devices makes life even more difficult for IT managers straddling the line somewhere between Big Brother and Mr. Magoo.

"Whether via formal BYOD programs, or just via devices coming in the back door and being configured to access corporate systems, the use of consumer technologies in the work environment presents a threat to IT control of endpoint computing resources," Dulaney added.

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