BYOD: The new trend

Are you a smartphone or tablet owner at work? If so, you’re part of the growing trend to BYOD. It stands for Bring Your Own Device and is a trend that is affecting all industries.
Problem is that corporate budgets are unable to keep up with technological advances. Everybody gets an iPad, then the iPad 2 is released. The phone models change faster than I can cook a roast dinner.
If you work with IT developers and gadget-loving members of project teams, chances are they have something in their handbags that is more up-to-date than what is available in the corporate catalogue.
Two experts spoke to me about the expansion of BYOD and how it affects project managers.
Chris Smithee, of Lancope, stated that BYOD has seen a boom in the last few years because of the constant availability of trendy mobile devices. Consumers can’t get enough of the iPhone and iPad. They expect their employers to allow them access to the office to use these devices for business purposes.
Chris directed me to data from Aberdeen, which shows that 75% of companies allow employees to use their smartphones and tablets at work.
Jonathan Dale, Fiberlink’s product marketing manager, stated that BYOD has evolved from a concept to an integral component of IT strategy in almost every organization. “The blocking of devices seems to be shifting to enabling them,” said Jonathan Dale, Fiberlink product marketing manager. Gartner research [link removed June 2020 because it is no longer available] shows that only a third of companies offer technical assistance for employees who own devices.
This explosion also means that there is a high chance that you or your team have access to project-related information via your personal devices. This poses a security risk.
Security is a problem
Jonathan stated that “Securing corporate information is by far the greatest challenge and concern for organizations.” End user privacy is a growing concern, especially in relation to the possibility of seeing personally identifiable information such as installed applications and location-based information.
Fiberlink survey results (last slide) revealed that 92% of respondents said that security of corporate data on employees’ devices was their top concern. Chris said that mobile users are often bypassing corporate security policies and measures to gain access to business applications on any device they choose. “This makes the problem even worse.” “According the Cisco Connected World Technology Report 7 out 10 employees admit to breaking security policy with varying regularity.” [link deleted June 2020 as not available] Three out five employees think they are not responsible for protecting corporate data.
It’s frightening, and I hope it’s not you and your team that contributed to these figures.
This isn’t the only problem…
BYOD presents other challenges. Administrators are facing a technology nightmare because of BYOD. Companies are facing:
Limited knowledge of each device type and the operating system that needs access to the network.
Device security is not managed by the employee, who has admin rights and can add or delete programmes.
There is not enough information available about who owns the device. Are they the employee, a family member, departmental owners, or did they buy their own pool devices for use by the team?
Lack of visibility into the device’s activities – how can you monitor it?
Lack of visibility as to what confidential corporate or project data is on the device, and where it is going.

Chris said that administrators are faced with difficult decisions: to provide the business and employees the resources they need or to create a safe, secure environment for their employees.
What is it?