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Bring Your Own Device: IT Headache or Opportunity?

By Josh Galde | November 14, 2013

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

What role does BYOD have to play in mobilizing your workforce? And how do you develop the guidelines and security protocols that will keep your most sensitive company data safe and secure in this new and inherently less-secure environment? These are questions that CIO’s, IT administrators and others in the enterprise with a stake in their organization’s security and workforce needs and requirements are actively grappling with today.

Spurred by the boom in smartphone adoption and usage, as well as the growth of enterprise mobile applications and their employees’ desire to use the device of their choosing to stay connected, BYOD has become a fact of life and no longer a question of, “Should we, or shouldn’t we?”. So now rather than weighing the potential benefits vs. drawbacks of BYOD, it is a question of what policies to put in place, how to ensure that employees are following those policies and that your organization is getting the desired benefits of increased mobility.

With regards to one of the more common and essential functions of enterprise mobility – file sharing – a recent study by a leading provider of workforce collaboration applications found that while mobile file sharing was being widely used by workers in the sensitive legal and finance departments of major U.S. corporations, only a third of them were using file-sharing apps that had been expressly approved by their IT departments. If that isn’t enough to keep CIOs up at night, then consider trying to keep track of the dizzying range of mobile apps coming onto the market every day, some of which are enterprise-ready, some of which are decidedly not.

But there are some BYOD developments and trends that should provide IT leaders with a little peace of mind. For instance, Google’s recently-announced launch of a new suite of BYOD features for Android devices that will allow for greater security and control over employee-owned devices. Also heartening is the increasing acceptance of the indispensable role of proper testing, monitoring and consistent QA procedures by makers of enterprise mobile apps.

So rather than resist the BYOD trend, it would be wise for IT decision-makers to try to get out in front of it and put the right policies and tools in place for their increasingly mobile workforce before any lasting damage can be done. As enterprise mobile guru Cesare Garlati recently stated in a blog post:

“My advice for organizations facing an increasingly consumerized IT world is to realize that Consumerization [BYOD] is happening and they can’t stop it – and in fact they shouldn’t. Embrace consumerization is the optimal approach: create a plan that spans the whole organization, say yes but not for everything to everyone and put the right new infrastructure in place to secure and manage consumer-grade technology in the enterprise. Rather than resist it, organizations should embrace Consumerization to unlock its business potential.”

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