BYOD is growing. While some IT professionals may face-palm at the idea of allowing foreign devices into their network perimeter, the writing's on the wall. In fact, the global market for BYOD solutions is in the middle of an impressive 27.6 percent compound annual growth rate. Not only that, but Intuit Canada forecasts that 45 percent of the Canadian workforce will be self-employed by 2020.
These mobile workers will be freelancers, independent contractors, and on-demand workers. The mobility takeover is inevitable, and it's honestly not a bad thing. From more up-to-date security to boosted productivity, have you really taken the time to weigh the benefits of BYOD?
BYOD vs. corporate-owned
BYOD, at least from a user perspective, is all about convenience. Users are simply more comfortable using their own devices. That said, mere convenience isn't enough reason to take the BYOD plunge for most organizations. No, they need a little factual evidence that suggests the move is worth it. How can you beat a good, old-fashioned list of pros and cons?
- Equipment cost transferred to users
- Users can work with the devices they prefer
- Increased mobility
- Potential for enhanced productivity as users stick closer to their devices
- Loss of absolute device control
- Support becomes trickier in a heterogeneous environment
- Potential security risks, as device administration passes to the user
- Compatibility concerns
- Greater potential for shadow IT
As you can see, the pros of BYOD leave the value of corporate-owned devices in the dust—especially when your CFO is looking to tighten up next year's budget. But when it comes to the cons, can we really say that BYOD wins over everything? After all, isn't security the biggest pain point for ITDMs?
Take note: BYOD's more up-to-date
Despite all the doom and gloom associated with BYOD security, the future holds hope for this growing trend. One reason, in particular, may actually lead BYOD into a more secure future than traditional, corporate-owned devices. The reason? Our insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest technology. User-owned devices are typically upgraded more frequently than corporate hardware refreshes. Users who furnish their own shiny, new devices for work are more likely to include cutting-edge security enhancements, like biometrics.
Not convinced? Think of it this way: As organizations continue moving toward user-owned devices, supporting applications and infrastructure evolve, as well. In many instances, this takes the form of posturing supporting infrastructure toward a mobile strategy. In other words, cloud computing. When this happens, security of user devices can safely focus on user policy and locking down connections rather than the hardware itself. Hell, you can even print securely from your own device!
Watch productivity soar
You may have noticed that we snuck a somewhat controversial pro onto our list—you know, the one about increased productivity. Well, it turns out that may not be a myth after all. A Technology Innovation Management Review case study found that BYOD-friendly companies in health care can experience mind-boggling increases in productivity.
Companies where employees aren't necessarily tied to a desk while working can achieve significant productivity increases when using their own mobile devices. The case study also showed that users in BYOD environments better leveraged real-time data from cloud applications. The productivity benefits of BYOD can mean big things for organizations looking to innovate and disrupt, where every second matters.
BYOD will likely find its way into your organization sooner, rather than later. Fortunately, some of our greatest concerns about this trend—mostly security—have an optimistic outlook over that same period. With a well-constructed BYOD policy and supporting cloud infrastructure, there's just no reason to fear this evolution of IT.