BYOD may be a top trend in businesses today, but those four letters may ultimately spell trouble for a company if the proper mobile policies are not in place to handle the expanding number of mobile devices.
There is a ‘diversity explosion’, notes Rohit Mehra, Director of Enterprise Communications Infrastructure at International Data Corp. (IDC), pointing out that by 2015 close to 17 million ‘smart’ devices of all types will be shipping worldwide as compared to nearly 12 million today. This creates challenges for companies of all sizes as IT managers struggle to implement new controls and safeguards that may be lacking in current mobile user policies.
Security still tops the list of most IT administrators, while the cost of mobile applications development is usually dead last in terms of key challenges, according to IDC research.
There is no question that using mobile devices do increase the productivity of workers and sharpens a company’s competitive edge. Roughly 94 percent of small business users report their mobile devices make them more efficient, while 67 percent say their companies would lose competitive ground without the use of such devices, according to recent survey conducted by CDW, a leading technology services and products provider.
A Cure in the Cloud
As a testament to bring your own device (BYOD) trends, of the 752 U.S.-based mobile device users and IT professionals polled, nearly 90 percent of the managers taking part in CDW’s Small Business Mobility Report survey say their employees use personally-owned mobile devices in their daily work. This flood of personal mobile devices can create headaches in terms of mobile device management (MDM) practices, although evolving technologies may mitigate some of these concerns.
One of these technologies is cloud-based applications and services, which shift the bulk of critical information that resides on a mobile device to a centralized or virtual resource that is available to all types of devices via wireless networks and the Internet. This not only provides a specific and easily managed target for security and mobile policy safeguards (especially if it is a personal cloud that provides limited and non-public access to data and applications) but can also clearly separate personal from business applications and data.
Personal information can reside on the client’s device or public clouds such as Flickr for a user’s family photographs. Roughly 70% of the companies that took part in IDC’s smart device study, released in March, reported their companies were involved in cloud-based activities at some level. A little more than 8% already launched projects, close to 25% launched a project, and nearly 40% planned to launch an initiative in 12-18 months, noted IDC analyst Mehra.