In the past few years, there has been a paradigm shift in the IT policies of enterprises - from sticking to a strict ‘No personal devices allowed' rule owing to security concerns - to the more liberal ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)' programs. Today, companies are increasingly embracing BYOD programs fueled by the benefits to both employers and employees.
While companies reduce costs as they have to spend less on procuring devices; employees are happier using their personal laptops, smartphones, and other devices.
BYOD: A proposition that works for both organizations and employees
IT departments struggling to keep their budgets under control have been quite happy to embrace the growing trend of BYOD. The main benefit: BYOD puts the cost of purchasing devices on the user. In fact, most employees are also paying for the data plans associated with the use of their devices. According to the findings of Good Technology's 2nd Annual State of BYOD Report, "half of the companies surveyed with BYOD policies said that employees are actually covering all costs, which includes device and data plans".
For employees, the incentive of using their own devices is related to the convenience of using machines operating a preferred platform. Moreover, with employees typically having more advanced and newer models at home than at the workplace, the rapid gains in efficiency of computing devices can effectively be channeled via BYOD practices. The end result: A win-win situation for everyone with higher productivity levels for organizations and higher satisfaction levels for employees.
Managing BYOD: A potential nightmare for CIOs?
The foremost problem is related to information security. With BYOD, there is an elevated risk of data theft, leakage and malware infection caused by a rogue machine connected to an enterprise network, violation of a company's privacy regulations, and many more. To address these challenges, appropriate policies are required which accommodate BYOD programs while at the same time protect information assets.
Complexity of Managing Multiple Devices
According to research conducted by iYogi Insights, an average household in the U.S. owns as many as 11 digital devices. This has implications for BYOD programs, as a user could bring 3 to 4 devices to the office. As the aggregate population of devices increases manifold, it gets increasingly complex for CIOs and their IT departments to manage them efficiently.
Increased Support Costs
The increased devices under management result in a spike in IT support costs. A part of the savings from implementing BYOD policies is offset by the high costs in training staff on troubleshooting for different platforms along with costs of specialized equipment to offer support.
Need for Remote Support
Employees who take their own devices to the office might also use them at home or while they are traveling for official work. To offer remote tech support to teleworkers, IT departments need to adopt remote connectivity and diagnostic tools.
Lack of Standardized Solutions
Personal laptops and smartphones are based on different platforms and versions of Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, etc. So while in traditional single technology stack based networks, IT teams are able to deploy scripts or solutions rapidly to all devices on a network, due to the lack of a single standard on a multi-technology device network, deployment of solutions becomes more complicated along with support skill requirements.
Limited Scope of IT Support
With BYOD, it is difficult to restrict support to only corporate applications. IT departments also need to provide support for the installation of different software, setup, migration, etc., requiring CIOs to expand the scope of their IT support to encompass various apps and hardware which employees use.
The number of enterprises supporting BYOD has increased manifold within the past few years since the advantages of BYOD are obvious. To cope with the IT support challenges however, enterprises require the right set of tools and applications. In particular, a service provider that can offer a scalable, redundant platform including advanced features such as Mobile Device Management (MDM) and has built up a comprehensive knowledge management database to automate support can offer the necessary expertise. Such a partner can leverage powerful business intelligence capabilities to provide at-a-glance views into devices under management enabling efficient resource utilization as well as provide a mandatory global cloud delivery platform for remote tech support.