Facing BYOD Head On

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Tom Roberts is President of AFCOM, the leading association supporting the educational and professional development needs of data center professionals around the globe.

Tom_Roberts_tnTOM ROBERTS
AFCOM

I can understand why so many people like using a tablet or smartphone at work instead of a rigid desktop computer.

The portability of both makes it easier to perform tasks from anywhere—the lunchroom, a co-worker’s desk, at home, even in the car (But not while driving,  please.) Plus, it’s way more convenient to be able to access work and personal emails, files and apps on one device.

We love our toys, but mixing business with pleasure presents Excedrin-sized headaches for data center managers responsible for keeping company data secure and knowing who has what apps, why and where.

The Opportunities and Benefits of BYOD

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is flourishing.  By the end of this year, the number of mobile devices (mostly mobile phones) in the workplace is expected to reach 350 million globally. Plus, 57 percent of full-time employees are already using mobile devices for work-related tasks—half of which is unmonitored, unmanaged BYOD activity.

Workers who innocently hook up devices to company networks, download applications, access email and connect to private Wi-Fi can cause major disruptions.

According to the Ponemon Institute, 6 out of 10 security breaches were traced back to mobile devices. Apple and Google are constantly removing mobile malware from their app stores. Attackers will always go for the low hanging fruit first.

As a data center manager, you must have policies and security measures in place to protect your company’s data. In 2009, the US Government enacted the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health Act (HITECH) that requires healthcare companies to notify patients if they have had their health records compromised. Similar acts were also put in place in the financial industry.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, there’s simply no turning back when it comes to BYOD. Smartphones, tablets and whatever else bursts onto the smart scene in the next few years are here to stay.

Setting Up a Mobile Device Management Policy

The only way to do deal with it is by adopting a Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy. It’s a market expected to reach $181.39 billion by 2017.

A recent survey conducted by MDM provider Citrix among 1,900 senior IT staff across 19 countries showed that IT professionals are embracing this trend and solutions for it.

  • 83 percent of those polled said they were happy to use a BYOD policy in order to manage the trend toward mobility.
  • 55 percent said they now actively accommodate and encourage the use of personal devices for work purposes.
  • The big benefits of BYOD are more flexibility (65 percent), increased productivity (62 percent), less commuting time (61 percent) and greater work/life balance (55 percent).
  • Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents were happy to reimburse employees – either partly or fully – for their device.
  • Four out of five enterprises who have BYOD in place have experienced cost benefits.

According to a new market research report, a quarter of all organizations worldwide have already embraced BYOD, and 83 percent will do so within two years. Are you prepared?

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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  1. More companies are starting to realize the benefits of BYOD. Does BYOD come with headaches? Of course it does. However, security issues and IT management headaches (how do I support all those devices?) can be addressed by using new HTML5 technologies that enable users to connect to applications and systems without requiring IT staff to install anything on user devices. For example, Ericom AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables remote users to securely connect from iPads, iPhones and Android devices to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser. This enhances security by keeping applications and data separate from personal devices. Since AccessNow doesn't require any software installation on the end user device – just an HTML5 browser, network connection, URL address and login details - IT staff end up with less support hassles. An employee that brings in their own device merely opens their HTML5-compatible browser and connects to the URL given them by the IT admin. Visit http://www.ericom.com/BYOD_Workplace.asp?URL_ID=708 for more info. Please note that I work for Ericom