by Amanda McKeon
The term “consumerization of IT” seems to be overused at this point, but it is by no means something that can be ignored or pushed aside for later contemplation. The newest technology gives employees around the world opportunities like the ability to telecommute as well as faster and easier access to business networks from personal devices. Enterprises need to act now when it comes to mobilizing their businesses, including determining whether a BYOD (bring your own device) methodology is a feasible option.
Several surveys have been taken in recent months to see how enterprises are dealing with consumerization of IT and the results may surprise you. For example, a survey based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews completed by Robert Half Technology found that 67% of CIOs responded “no” when asked if they “allow employees access to corporate networks via personal laptops, smartphones, or tablets?" Among the 33% that do encourage personal devices, only 28% offer full technical support (66% offer limited support and 6% offer no support).
In response John Reed, Senior Executive Director of Robert Half Technology says, "Companies are balancing the desire to provide flexibility to employees with potential security risks, as well as logistical issues such as providing support for non-standard devices." Though it is difficult to find this balance right now, Reed is sure this will change in the immediate future as the way employees want to conduct their work is changing. "Professionals increasingly want to stay connected while using their device of choice for both work and personal communication," he said. "Companies recognize this and are actively looking for secure solutions."
In a recent press release, Gartner reports on the change from company-owned to employee-owned device support and discusses ways businesses can successfully make this change. Terrence Cosgrove, Research Director at Gartner, advised, "With the unabated growth of consumerization, IT leaders need to implement MDM (mobile device management) to manage corporate and employee-owned devices, and assign responsibilities inside IT departments for the service, application, and security of all these devices." An MDM strategy helps organizations deal with the complexity between operations and security and ensures that corporate policy is strictly upheld.
Gartner analysts believe that without a strong MDM strategy in place, organizations will mostly likely see increased cost for three main reasons:
- A decrease in user productivity
- Less trust in IT, prompting users to support themselves
- Users going around IT policies and standards
As the trend leans more strongly toward consumer-oriented devices, organizations will be continuously pressured to replicate the success of personal technology within the business. However, they are not alone in making this happen. A recent article in the April-June 2012 issue of insiderPROFILES shares advice on how to let employees use their personal devices and applications in a business context. Read ”Are You Ready for BYOD” by Sam Lakkundi, Vice President of Kony Solutions, to see how your organization can successfully deploy a BYOD methodology while at the same time mitigate security risks and development costs.