By now, probably only a handful of remote tribes in the middle of the Amazonian forest not yet covered by Verizon don’t have a cell phone. Most industry experts have categorized this revolution under the topic of Bring Your Own Device. It has generated many conversations, debates and best practice guidelines.
The “BYOD” concept has for some reason been defined as our business smartphones, tablets and MacBooks for the most part. Several key challenges are worth exploring as far as the adoption of this concept by Small and Midsize businesses where “BYOD-in-the-trenches” is most likely going to happen quicker than at the enterprise level.
Personal “companions” like tablets and phablets have started to hit us hard over the past few holidays and are now knocking at the corporate door to play with all the other kids (PC, Laptops). If you haven’t experienced that yet, be prepared because they are coming…The question really should be about what you want them to be able to do, not the other way around.
Have Realistic expectations! The Holy Grail is yet to be found…
Design and religion aside, these devices propelled by either Apple IOS, Google Android or Microsoft Windows, can natively do all common tasks for you; Access your corporate and private Email/Agenda, Access your favorite Social Networks, Browse the Web, Buy Apps (yes, that bird…), etc…The area where they still lack maturity, is certainly the (mis)handling of business apps & data with the exception of Email. OS-specific point solutions for businesses often deployed as “bolt-ons” are slow to move in and will never cover the entire spectrum. Terminal Service solutions that act as abstraction layers to the operating system can certainly do miracle for you.
Do not negotiate with the devil, security risks are real!
Convenience being the enemy of security, think twice before allowing VPN connections into your network from these devices. A lost or stolen private mobile device can be a very serious problem. Always consult you IT provider to discuss risks and solutions. They both exist!
Rather than denying access to private devices by fear or under estimating security risks related to these nextgen devices, my recommendation is to deliberately adopt them with some strategy in mind. No need for a complex Mobile Device Management (MDM) framework but a common sense BYOD “Rule of the road” can suffice. A few hours with a pro can certainly yield great results. The concept being poised to gain momentum as the limit between our private and business lives gets blurrier every year.
After all, we can all benefit from enhanced productivity for ourselves or our employees not to mention that Your-Own-Device usually doesn’t stop working at 5 PM…A real “catch 22” dilemma certainly worth another blog topic….