BYOD Costs are Rising

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bill Gerneglia

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Article by Sara Jameson

Recent research demonstrates some of the quantifiable benefits and complexities associated with allowing employees to use their own mobile devices on their employers' networks.

Most organizations are now enabling BYOD in the enterprise. As many as 95% report saying their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace. 

Additionally, the average number of connected devices per knowledge worker is expected to reach 3.3 by 2014. This is up from an average of 2.8 in 2012.

The BYOD Conumdrum

The rise of BYOD within organizations may provide significant opportunities for businesses adopting client computing. New research suggests these organizations could also incur rising costs according to Gartner research.

The proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, which allow employees to use their personal wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets for work activities, represents a radical shift in the economics of client computing.

The Gartner research follows numerous surveys and studies suggesting that while BYOD adoption continues to grow, IT departments are struggling to adequately manage security and protect sensitive corporate data.

IT managers are balancing security and support concerns with the very real potential to reap significant cost and productivity benefits from the BYOD trend. Research has shown that BYOD is just the gateway to greater business benefits. 

In a separate survey, over three-fourths (76%) of IT leaders questioned categorized BYOD as somewhat or extremely positive for their companies, while seeing significant challenges for IT. These findings reinforce that BYOD is no passing fad and is here to stay. Many it managers are acknowledging the need for a more holistic approach to managing BYOD. 

This includes one that is scalable and addresses mobility, security, virtualization and network policy management, in order to keep management costs in line while simultaneously providing optimal experiences where savings can be realized. CIOs have concluded that mobility needs to extend well beyond BYOD to include the integration of service provider mobility, enterprise mobility, security, collaboration and desktop virtualization solutions.

Though still nascent in adoption at the moment and largely restricted to smartphones and tablets, eventually BYOD initiatives will expand to include employees' notebook computers and other devices, according to the Gartner study. Even businesses that do not plan to adopt BYOD policies should have a clear position on allowance of personal devices in the workplace, the report said.

Interestingly, the report also noted that while BYOD programs have the potential to reduce costs, they often do not. Mobile workers can incur expensive data-roaming charges, while the drive to deliver ever more capability to the mobile device, the costs of software, infrastructure, personnel support and related services will increase over time. The inclusion of file-sharing platforms, business applications and tools will increase IT operations costs even further.

Gartner analysts recommend businesses ensure data security through a mix of policy, software, infrastructure controls and education in the near term and with application management and appropriate cloud services in the longer term. Gartner suggests that IT work closely with human resources and legal departments to ensure compatibility with taxes, labor, corporate liability and employee privacy implications. 

While companies are working to control security and monitor data access, organizations need to be aware of the legal implications involved in tracking personal devices on a corporate network.

Cross-posted from MyITView

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