Why BYOD represents evolution not revolution

Is BYOD necessarily the panacea that some suggests? We explore the disconnect between the theory and reality.

"You still need a helpdesk to answer all the queries and fix all the issues," says Henrys.

Different devices add yet another layer of complexity. While creating virtual infrastructure to develop a "cloud-based" desktop may overcome this problem, that in itself adds costs to the bottom line. Indeed, even a virtual infrastructure needs to be implemented and maintained by the IT department. Sometimes this can be running alongside the normal infrastructure, doubling up on support costs for the IT organisation. It doesn't make economical or common sense.

While building an infrastructure to cope with a variety of devices accessing the network is one thing, privacy and security is quite another, warns Henrys.

Grey areas

Allowing the user to bring their own device into the corporate network will mean that device will contain a mixture of personal and corporate data. While a user storing personal data on corporate machines is nothing new, there will inevitably be problems around security when corporate data is stored on personal devices.

"What rights do the company have to that data when the employee leaves?" questions Henrys. He says that there are a lot of HR and privacy laws yet to be formulated around this issue.

Also, one big issue that could take the romance and excitement out of an employee wanting to use their own device for work is what can happen if/when that device is lost. The organisation has to take steps to ensure any confidential information is not compromised and this generally means carrying out a remote wipe of data on that device. For the user, this could also mean that precious personal data is wiped out at the same time. Suddenly, along with the data, the user's romance with BYOD is dead.

Henrys thinks the way out of this is for the IT organisation to provide business devices with consumer features that the users want. Windows 8 being a great example of such flexibility offered to businesses and users alike. It still allows the IT organisation to maintain control of the devices but the user has a device that can be a tablet when it needs to be or can convert to an ultrabook for other purposes.

But while keeping everything within a Microsoft environment where Windows devices can join the network and be controlled by IT appears the best solution, some workers may still want to use their iPhones, Android devices and iPads. So this appetite for variety must be factored in at the planning and delivery stages.

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