The Potential Dark Side of BYOD
January 28, 2013
By Steve Anderson
, Contributing TMCnet Writer
The bring your own device (BYOD) movement has been moving forward pretty aggressively for some time. While the concept has plenty of benefits working for it, there are some downsides that may ultimately come together to kill off the concept, especially thanks to resistance of some IT departments in a growing number of corporations.
One of the biggest impediments in bringing a BYOD operation to some companies is the cost. While BYOD has an excellent potential for cost savings, but whether it comes out saving money or costing money depends largely on the implementation. Employees selecting unnecessarily large data plans or overusing public wireless systems can take a lot of the savings out of the equation, despite the clear potential of saving money, as the employees purchase their own hardware.
BYOD also represents a major challenge in terms of security. Accounting for multiple different devices in a variety of different makes and models can make it difficult to establish a blanket security policy that needs to be used on the enterprise level. The sheer number of users involved in an enterprise environment makes a blanket program necessary and can make it difficult to create a secure environment. This same diffusion of types of devices and device makers can also make providing support for the BYOD environment a tough call as well.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues in BYOD is one of productivity. While it can be a substantial boon to productivity, it can also be a productivity killer. Employees using their own devices can be more become more inclined to doing things like watching videos, playing games or enjoying their social networks, when they should be working. Too much time spent on entertainment activities can be a drag on production to the point where the potential savings gained through BYOD, are lost.
Many of these concerns can be addressed with proper mobile device management systems. Systems like MaaS360's line of solutions can help keep the equation better balanced on the side of gain, with systems available for the standard array of mobile devices—smartphones and tablets alike—as well as slightly larger mobile devices like laptops. With a service like that MaaS360 offers, many of the distraction services can be shut down. For instance, with iOS, MaaS360 mobile device management can remove access to Game Center, iBookstore, iMessage, and can even force Internet traffic through a proxy server.
BYOD is a powerful tool. Like any powerful tool, like a bulldozer, a rifle, a chainsaw, it has potential for misuse and can be dangerous in the wrong hands. With proper education, and a commitment on all parts to the goals of the organization, and some allowances built in for occasional diversion, the BYOD movement can bring not just new devices, but also better productivity and cost savings.
Edited by Ashley Caputo