BYOD: An Ongoing Challenge

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 08, 2014

For all the talk in recent years and months about the bring-your-own-device trend, you’d think businesses would have this situation well in hand. But, in fact, BYOD continues to be one of the issues that keep company executives awake at night and has them considering strategies to completely lock everything down in an effort to limit corporate and personal liability, and keep their organizations safe from a data breach. However, whole managers are feeling the heat from BYOD concerns, employees could not be more chill about it.

Tim Williams, director of product management at Absolute Software, a company that has been managing and securing mobile devices since 1993, says that although some managers want to lock everything down, that’s not possible. The good news, he says, is they don’t have to. Instead, he comments, organizations need to institute processes to encourage employees to follow best practices around BYOD and to transform businesses’ IT staffs as the path of least resistance to get tools that allow employees to do their jobs. And, he says, rather than addressing BYOD from a device-centric standpoint, businesses should shift to a user-centric stance.

Gartner (News - Alert) lately has looked at the BYOD from the end users’ standpoint, and nearly half of those they surveyed said they spend more than an hour a day using their private devices for work. The firm’s survey also indicates a quarter of business users admitted to having had a security issue with their private device last year, yet just 27 percent of that group felt the need to report that to their employers.

Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, comments: “One of the biggest challenges for IT leaders is making sure that their users fully understand the implications of faulty mobile security practices and to get users and management to adhere to essential steps which secure their mobile devices. For many organizations, overcoming BYOD security challenges is a full-time task, with a host of operational issues.”

Meanwhile, AdaptiveMobile (News - Alert) recently reported that 83 percent of employees would stop using their own device if they knew their employer could see what they were doing at all times – and said that 61 percent of enterprises already have this level of access. 

“Without the ability to control when and how users connect to different networks, through different access points, the long-term impacts

of mobilizing the work force can be quite damaging to the bottom line,” says Carla Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer for Smith Micro (News - Alert). “However, by creating a strategy to address BYON with policy-based management, IT administrators can enable employees to get the information they need, anywhere, without compromising productivity, cost or security.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle