BYOD is growing. While some IT professionals may roll their eyes at the idea of allowing foreign devices into their network perimeter, the writing is on the wall. In fact, the global market for BYOD solutions is in the middle of an impressive 27.6 percent compound annual growth rate. Considering smartphone ownership in Australia reached 84 percent in 2016, according to the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2016, it’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing such rapid uptake in the BYOD space.
The mobility takeover is inevitable, but have you really taken the time to weigh the benefits of BYOD?
BYOD vs. corporate-owned
BYOD, at least from a user perspective, is all about convenience. Users are simply more comfortable using their own devices. That said, mere convenience isn’t enough reason to take the BYOD plunge for most organisations. No, they need a little factual evidence that suggests the move is worth it, which is why you can’t beat a good, old list of pros and cons.
- equipment cost transferred to users
- users can work with the devices they prefer
- increased mobility
- potential for greater productivity, as users stay near their devices
- loss of absolute device control
- support becomes trickier in a heterogeneous environment
- potentially greater security risks
- compatibility problems
- greater potential for shadow IT
Is it really insecure?
Despite all the doom and gloom associated with BYOD security, the future holds hope for this growing trend. One reason, in particular, may actually lead BYOD into a more secure future than traditional, corporate-owned devices. The reason? Our insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest technology. User-owned devices are typically upgraded more frequent than corporate hardware refreshes. Users who furnish their own shiny, new devices for work are more likely to include cutting-edge security enhancements, like biometrics.
Not convinced? Think of it this way: As organisations continue moving toward user-owned devices, supporting applications and infrastructure evolve, as well. In many instances, this takes the form of posturing supporting infrastructure toward a mobile strategy. In other words, cloud computing. When this happens, security of user devices can safely focus on user policy and locking down connections rather than the hardware itself. Hell, you can even print securely from your own device!
Parsing fact from fiction
You may have noticed we snuck a somewhat controversial pro into our list—you know, the one about increased productivity. Well, it turns out that may not be a myth after all. A Technology Innovation Management Review case study found that BYOD-friendly companies in health care can experience mind-boggling increases in productivity.
Further, companies where employees aren’t necessarily tied to a desk while working can achieve significant productivity increases when using their own mobile devices. The case study also showed that users in BYOD environments better leveraged real-time data from cloud applications. The productivity benefits of BYOD can mean big things for organisations looking to innovate and disrupt, where every second matters.
BYOD will likely find its way into your organisation sooner, rather than later. Fortunately, some of our greatest concerns about this trend—mostly security—have an optimistic outlook over that same period. With a well-constructed BYOD policy and supporting cloud infrastructure, there’s just no reason to fear this evolution of IT.