The Challenges of BYOD
September 18, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The mobility trend appears to allow Americans to get more done in less time. We can take our mobile devices with us, work on the go, access entertainment from anywhere and communicate through multiple channel options, whether we have access to Wi-Fi or not. This “do more in less time” may be contributing to doing too much in not enough time – and corporate IT is right on the cusp. In fact, as users drive the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement, corporate strategies have to change.
A recent Information Week report, however, highlights another trend emerging in the market: Bring Your Own Network (BYON). Mobile workers are not just tapping into the corporate network to access information; they are also using non-vetted networks, causing a whole new string of problems for IT staff. This trend is not only threatening network security, it can also generate significant roaming charges if the user doesn’t pay attention.
To expand upon this BYON trend, and how it plays into the current BYOD movement, iPass (News - Alert) took a survey of 1,200 mobile workers supporting the global enterprise to ask about the challenges and benefits of BYOD and BYON. According to respondents, the added flexibility actually makes them work more. These users are now spending an average of 20 additional hours per week to check matters during personal and family time.
The challenges that exist with BYON include expensive data roaming bills. Mobile employees are using Wi-Fi when possible, especially when launching a video chat. The looming bills also tend to prevent certain workers to use even the most basic productivity apps, including Web browsing. The point of mobility is to drive efficiency, something BYON and even BYOD seems to be threatening.
IT departments do need to implement a strategy to combat the threat so they can make BYOD work to their advantage. This means data security and proper protections need to be in place to protect against data loss, and encrypted passwords and remote wiping are all a must. Policies should also include reminders for workers to use Wi-Fi as often as possible to reduce roaming charges. Global Wi-Fi plans can also help to get that cost down.
Even with these initiatives to keep costs under control, there still may be some disputes over who should be footing the bill when it comes to BYOD. The iPass survey found that 86 percent of mobile employees believe their companies should pay for domestic and international charges. Companies may not always agree – depending upon the nature of the business.
Either way, corporate policies will have to address the issue before a mobile worker is on the move. Companies considering BYOD policies may want to think about whether or not complete connectivity is worth the cost for employees to access applications and communications when outside of the office, or if employees should accept some of the responsibility.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey