The BYOD dilemma

Written by Jeff Morris | Updated: Jan 31 2013, 14:53pm hrs
Advances in mobility and client computing technology combined with the ubiquity of the internet and social media are creating a culture and desire for constant connectivity and anywhere access to information. As these trends extend from the home into the workplace, the classroom and even into government entities, it is becoming more and more imminent for CIOs to consider seriously the opportunities for increased productivity as a result of trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), while at the same time understanding the increased security risks posed by online, anytime access to private networks and data.

In recent times, how we work is changing, on an average every person in a consumerised environment owns 3.3 devices, and ideally he/she would want access to mails and secure office data on all three of these devices. Studies further suggest that 77% of the smartphones used at work are chosen by the employee, both these fact clearly indicate that the BYOD trend is well and truly here to stay.

Now more than ever before, consumers are driving trends in the IT space. With the emergence of trends such as, the rise of social media, blurring of lines between work and home, the emergence of new mobile devices and the changing expectations of employees from the IT department, there is an inevitable shift in consumer expectations from any device or technology. Consumers now want devices that offer them more mobility. They want more device choices and lesser restrictions on these devices. Consumers look for devices that enable them to on more and better applications and at the end of the day, they are looking for one device that takes care of all their work and personal needs.

Companies must adapt to these changing requirements of the consumer, so as to tap into markets, which are becoming more and more niche. With the need for accessibility intensifying, it becomes inevitable for us to work towards creating, combining and enhancing technology that delivers the best value to our customers over the long-term.

Organisations ranging from corporate to public entities such as schools and healthcare providers are being transformed by sweeping changes in technology and mobility that impact how people work, interact, collaborate, study and learn. The proliferation of devices such as smartphones, tablets and high powered portable notebooks, combined with the pervasiveness of social media and its increasing impact on corporate brand and sales have caused lines to blur between personal and professional life.

Students stream lectures over personal computers while simultaneously checking their Facebook page on their mobile phone, while employees check email, tweet and blog from coffee shops and airports. Whether logging onto the universitys online library or the corporations collaboration tool, limitless access, flexibility and mobility define todays end user computing environment and underscore the expectations of end user.

However in todays time of unlimited access, the need for security is greatly undermined. Accessing secure data over unsecure networks can be potentially fatal for organisations. As a result, CIOs need to address two fundamental end user computing challenges, in order to truly make BYOD the next big thingproviding secure, anytime access to an increasingly remote and mobile workforce, and managing the burgeoning diversity of devices, applications, platforms and operating systems needed to run their organisation.

Though, traditionally IT departments determined the technology issued to employees and the policies strictly governing their use; an office-bound, limited approach is no longer practical in todays highly connected, mobile, environment. Security threats are growing in volume and sophistication at an alarming rate. In 2010, security researchers uncovered close to 100,000 new malware samples per day more than one per second!

So what can CIOs do to ensure protection of data when it is transmitted over personal devices Well the first thing would be to deploy end-point device that best meet individual use cases and increases end users productivity in your environment. Next it would be advisable to secure corporate data according to updated security policies and regulatory requirements all the way from the datacentre to the endpoint device, and it might also be a good idea to optimise the deployment and management of all end point devices across the enterprise.

What most IT players need to understand is that end user computing is no longer just about device or technology, it is a much more consumer centric approach, it is about maximising productivity and enabling consumers to enjoy an always connected lifestyle. A testament to the fact is devices like the Dell XPS 13 that have been created keeping the consumer in mind. So not only are these devices extremely portable and good to look at, they come equipped with enterprise features that make them the perfect devices for work and play.

The writer is director, end user computing, Asia-Pacific Japan, Dell