Today's Industry Insights contribution comes from Jason Frye, Director, Office of the CTO, BMC Software.
Like it or not, many of the employees in your company use their smart phones, tablets, and other personally owned devices to do their jobs. That means they are tapping into the corporate network and probably accessing sensitive applications and data from these unmonitored devices.
This phenomenon, known as the consumerization of IT or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), will only intensify as more digital natives — that is, people who have interacted with digital technology from an early age — enter the workforce. Consumerization has major implications for IT. The use of personally owned devices introduces significant security risks. In addition, it can drive up the load on the service desk as more and more employees bring a widening variety of these devices to the workplace and expect them to be supported.
You could establish a policy that prohibits the use of personal devices and back it up with strong security measures. However, employees are amazingly resourceful at finding ways to circumvent many of these barriers. And, let’s face it, this continual game of cat and mouse that pits the IT staff against employees wastes the valuable time of both groups.
Instead, it just makes sense to embrace the trend and make it easy for users to bring their personal devices to work. In doing so, however, you need to make sure you aren’t making it easy for critical data to “walk out the door” while balancing accessibility with productivity. That means you need to be able to manage personal devices with the same rigor as any other corporate-owned device. In addition, integrating the management of these devices into your service desk solution enables IT to more easily support the use of personal devices without giving up control or driving up costs.
Consider these factors for success:
- Give users what they want while enforcing security and protecting data
- Achieving a balance with policy and technology implications
- Getting employee buy-in
- Embracing the trend
The consumerization of IT is already here. Attempting to hold it back only pits IT against employees. Everyone loses. Instead, by establishing a well-thought-out BYOD policy and backing it with effective technology, you can embrace the inevitable. And you can do it without putting your organization at risk while allowing your employees to be productive with the device of their choice.
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