Conquer BYOD By Treating Everyone As External

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are often focused on defining exactly what employees can and can’t do. In some cases, it may be more helpful to stop drawing that distinction between internal workers and external users.

BYOD picture from Shutterstock

Gartner analyst David Mitchell Smith raised this idea during the keynote at Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in Sydney this week. Smith reaffirmed a commonly-made point about BYOD: simply saying you’re going to ban everything is rarely effective. “Control is an illusion. You put up all these barriers and people bypass them.”

“That’s what everyone is obsessed with — how to control bring your own device — and it’s not the right approach. The simplest solution is to embrace it: start treating your internal world as if it was external.” Shifting to that mindset means thinking more like a consumer, and less like a corporate manager. It doesn’t mean you’ll open up every piece of data in your business, but it can shift your thinking to how to manage access to resources, rather than how to deploy individual handsets.

That doesn’t mean IT departments will readily make the shift. “Getting out of the way is very hard for people,” Smith said. “They want to be involved in what’s going on.”

That externally-focused approach can also tie in with another two recommendations from the conference: focusing on apps rather than mobile sites , and concentrating on individual products rather than long-term projects. (For more advice on BYOD policy, check out our free ebook on making mobility real.)

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