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Bringing Your Own Device is Not Just a Trend

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If you think the concept of bringing your own device to work (BYOD) is just a trend, think again. A recent study by Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes. This statistic follows a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.'s Executive Programs indicating that 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.

"BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades," said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."

Being able to work remotely has been a springboard for increased mobility and collaboration and BYOD just adds to the potential. By increasing the number of mobile application users in the workforce, a business is able to give employees a more immediate way of collaborating, and helps close the productivity gap created by globalization. We're seeing benefits far beyond the traditional email and phone capabilities. Many common company applications are being used in this scenario, all to help with productivity. Essentially, you're allowing an employee to use a single device for both personal and work purposes, which many folks see as a benefit. We're seeing this system used in large enterprise level businesses, but it has advantages for the SMB market as well.

Businesses that incorporate BYOD can save money by housing software and hardware systems on a server, thus eliminating the cost of updating each individual device. Additionally, the cost of purchasing a laptop or mobile device for your traveling employees is eliminated when you allow them to use their own device.

On the flip side, a common concern we hear from our customers is the need for increased mobile security. These concerns can be alleviated by building a solid infrastructure and putting proper mobile security functions in place. Deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) model delivers applications and data securely on BYOD devices. All components of the traditional desktop are virtualized, which allows for a highly flexible and much more secure desktop delivery model, regardless of the BYOD device (including smartphones, tablets or laptops). VDI also supports a more robust desktop disaster recovery strategy as all components are essentially saved in the data center and backed up. If an employee loses their device or it is stolen, all the components of that user’s desktop will be present at login from another device.

However, even with a solid infrastructure that supports VDI for BYOD, as a business owner you must set forth expectations as to how the device should be used, and make sure employees understand who is responsible for managing and securing the mobile device. Having a corporate policy on BYOD applications, monitoring your company’s mobile devices and having a BYOD use policy will help communicate with your staff what will and will not be monitored, what apps are dangerous to the company, what kinds of devices and operating systems are allowed, manage privacy expectations and what to do when a device is lost or stolen.

Offering a BYOD program certainly offers many advantages to a business owner, but the proper steps must be taken to ensure a secure and productive environment. Given the trending numbers, if you're not already on board with BYOD, you'll no doubt want to begin looking into the concept in the near future.

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