Deployment

BYOD: Where It All Goes Wrong

Bring your own device (BYOD) remains a contentious issue in many businesses. A recent survey suggests that enthusiasm for the concept amongst businesses is increasing gradually, but that doesn’t mean we’ll all be happily choosing our own platform and devices just yet

Tablet picture by Frank Gaertner from Shutterstock

A survey sponsored by Dell’s Quest Software division asked 1485 IT decision makers (including 115 in Australia, a fairly healthy proportion given that the US contingent only numbered 300) about their BYOD experiences and policy. The results hit many of the familiar themes we’ve seen when discussing BYOD before, but also struck a more enthusiastic note than earlier studies which have seen BYOD bans as the norm in many environments. Of those surveyed, 70 per cent said that they thought BYOD had productivity benefits, and 59 per cent said not having a BYOD policy would create a competitive disadvantage. Australia ranked as the third most enthusiastic

Arguments against BYOD typically fall into three categories: security concerns, support issues and a lack of clearly defined policy over who actually pays for the gear. That last issue often gets ignored, while support is dumped in the “you choose the device, you learn how to operate it”. Security (and deployment of business apps) is often solved with some kind of virtualised desktop solution, a trend very evident in this study. In Australia, virtualisation was the most commonly selected approach, followed by mobile device management (MDM).

While desktop virtualisation can certainly make systems access easier, it won’t eliminate BYOD issues on its own, the survey suggests. The survey highlights the most common roadblocks and issues as reported in the survey:

Roadblock Frequency
Abuse of policies by staff 36%
Theft or loss of devices 33%
Lack of control over devices 33%
Employees who leave with IP on device 32%
Unauthorised distribution of data from devices 29%
Access to network by unauthorised devices 28%
Need for more IT resources to support BYOD 27%
Slow provisioning for contract devices 24%
Slow deprovisioning for contract devices 16%

None of those problems are insoluble. But they’re worth bearing in mind when someone starts asking why they can’t just install any device they like, whenever they like.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.