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How BYOD has changed the IT landscape

Ellen Messmer | Sept. 6, 2012
It may be hard for some to just say ‘no’ to the growing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) crowd, but that was the initial reaction manager of information at certified public accounting firm Burr, Pilger, Mayer Anthony Peters had when senior executives starting purchasing iPhones, asking them to be supported.

Indeed, some businesses have put up the 'Keep-Out' sign to BYOD at least for now.

"I'm not comfortable with BYOD," says Brad Hillebrand, director of enterprise technology at paint and protective coatings manufacturer Rust-Oleum. "I don't want corporate resources on devices we don't own."

Instead, Rust-Oleum, which uses GroupLogic for mobile-device secure file-sharing, has started issuing iPads and iPhones to employees and telling them the devices now have a "personal mode" that allows personal data use "in a personal-security mode."

This personal mode is enabled by software from MobileIron and AirWatch that separates usage into business and personal. "Rather than BYOD, we're providing the personal mode," Hillebrand says. While users seem happy about it, Hillebrand acknowledges it does add cost and managers get monthly reports to see how "personal mode" is faring, especially in terms of wireless data-service plans.

Some organizations these days believe that BYOD is a way the corporation can save money by not buying corporate-issued mobile smartphones or tablets at all for employees.

That's the idea over at networking giant Cisco as far as smartphones is concerned. The company doesn't supply smartphones to any employee anymore, unless their job falls under government regulatory restrictions where it's plainly spelled out that the employee must be using a corporate-issued device, says Steve Martino, vice president of information security at Cisco. This requirement comes not only from the U.S. government for classified work, but from foreign governments, too, he points out. BYOD at Cisco is basically about trying to lower costs, but Martino argues that Cisco see measured productivity gains of about 30 minutes per day per employee through BYOD.

A recent survey of 116 IT and telecom professionals about BYOD found that nearly a quarter of them that allowed BYOD in their organizations said mobile capital expenditures had actually increased by more than 20%. However, the survey found that 60% of the respondents said they adhered to "the traditional approach of corporate ownership and liability," while 22% have a mix of both "corporate liable" and BYOD to accommodate different user group. One in 10 said their companies had gone "fully BYOD" in allowing employees to use their own devices at work, and expected employees to pay all their monthly network service charges themselves, while another 8% practiced BYOD with reimbursement.

The U.S. federal government has not yet opened the gates to BYOD, and is undertaking a close look at how security and MDM should optimally be done with BYOD. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a draft policy proposal just last July which suggests BYOD is inherently riskier than use of corporate-owned smartphones and tablets.


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