Kevin Beadon, Head of Workspace & Mobility at GlassHouse Technologies, says:

Is your BYOD plan exposing you to risk? According to recent research from Gartner, many companies think so. Analysts claim that BYOD drove the security software market up 7.9 percent annually in 2012, but predict an even larger 8.7 percent growth in 2013. These statistics demonstrate IT’s ongoing fear and uncertainty about how to effectively manage BYOD and the security and infrastructure challenges it introduces.

However, unlike their IT administrator counterparts, employees are embracing BYOD and the flexibility and productivity it helps them gain. And with the majority of employees today accustomed to post-PC devices, companies are quickly realizing that users will bring personal devices to work, whether IT likes it or not. The reality is, if you’re building a company for BYOD, you’re behind the eight ball – BYOD isn’t on the horizon; it’s here and quickly transitioning into its next phase.

With BYOD 2.0 introducing new hurdles brought on by next-generation portable devices, cloud servers and storage devices, enterprise are left wondering: “How can we build a solid BYOD plan that meets business needs while maintaining user satisfaction?”

As detailed in a recent whitepaper by GlassHouse Technologies, companies can optimize their BYOD strategies by analysing their unique BYOD risks in order to map them to potential solutions and workarounds. Though understanding the risks of BYOD might require wading through a labyrinth of unknowns around ownership, support, security, procedures and more, spending the time upfront will help IT answer users’ important questions, and then implement policies based on companies’ particular needs and structures.

Investing the time and effort to ask the right questions will also lead IT to realize BYOD’s tangible benefits. Despite the predominant view that the only benefit of BYOD is increased employee satisfaction, more often than not, IT will find that there’s actually a solid business case for BYOD. For instance, BYOD enhances employee mobility and responsiveness and gives them a way to manage their workloads. It can also boost overall corporate savings, because organizations that allow workers to bring their own devices to work eliminate the need to purchase equipment. In many cases, BYOD also improves security as long as there are strong data management policies in place.  

Once IT understands the pros and cons of BYOD, it will be ready to implement the program that best fits their company’s needs. Like any implementation, planning, communication and controlled execution are the keys to success. Many IT departments will benefit from following certain steps, which will range from evaluating the user base and determining how companies will evolve with new technologies. Along the way, IT will be faced with difficult questions, such as “Who is accountable for the device?” and “How do I protect bandwidth?” If the company can’t answer these fundamental questions through its own analysis, enlisting seasoned technology experts will enable the organizations to map out cohesive strategies for success.

When it comes to BYOD, the worst thing businesses can do is nothing. Today, employees are accustomed to using any device and application, anytime and anywhere. Therefore, companies that devise proper plans which enable them to embrace a BYOD culture will increase ROI and user satisfaction, and have a leg up over the competition.