IT Best Practices

Whatever Happened to BYOD—and Do We Need to Worry?

Consumerization of IT is already yesterday’s trend, but is it also yesterday’s worry? The phenomenon of unsanctioned devices, such as smart phones and tablets flooding into corporate spaces, once compromised security and productivity. To some degree, argues Mark Samuels of ZDNet, it still does. The difference today is in how each organization found different ways to adapt.

Pick and Choose

Samuels outlines the three basic strategies for regulating unsanctioned devices in the workplace, and interviews one industry professional for each approach.

  • BYOD: where a single device is allowed for business and non-business use
  • CYOD: where workers choose from a pre-approved list of selected devices
  • COPE: the corporate-owned, personally-enabled strategy where devices are provided by the business but also available for non-work activities

BYOD – The Early Fantasy

Ireland’s Health Service Executive CIO Richard Corbridge discusses his company’s bygone flirtation with a BYOD utopia. The original plan of attack for many companies also involved gamification:

“The theory was that if we could exploit these two things, then every person in every organisation would become an IT super-user overnight…We believed we could even do away with some service needs, as IT was owned by the personality of the organisation, rather than the business itself.”

Unfortunately, says Corbridge, this idea was but a fantasy. In practice the BYOD approach has failed to prevent multiple-device use, and the gamification approach isn’t working at the necessary functional level of the organization.

CYOD – The Limitation of Limitations

Former Working Links CIO Omid Shiraji discusses how legacy infrastructure effectively restricts the implementation of a workable mobile strategy:

“Many CIOs are hamstrung by enterprise software and security requirements…These longstanding issues can make it difficult to move quickly, especially for well-established businesses. The creation of a mobile strategy is probably still much easier for a company that is just starting out.”

Like the legacy IT of many mature companies, the CYOD approach is much too inflexible to withstand the quickly evolving demands of the digital workforce. People expect choice on and off the clock.

COPE – Working for Journalists

David Reed, who is IT Head for the Press Association (PA) says that centralized control of all mobile devices did the trick. They are able to set policies involving password length and complexity on every device, in addition to dictating which sorts of applications journalists can and cannot use. Nonetheless, Reed does qualify that BYOD was initially successful. It switched the industry mindset from one of rigid, centralized control of devices to one of acceptance and cooperation.

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