Bring Your Own Device or Bring Your Own Disaster?

By Bruno Tasco, Frost and Sullivan One of the top priorities on the agenda of CIOs for 2013 is to offer mobile and collaborative solutions on a corporate level. …

tascoBy Bruno Tasco, Frost and Sullivan

One of the top priorities on the agenda of CIOs for 2013 is to offer mobile and collaborative solutions on a corporate level. This owes to the increasing number of executives using their personal mobile devices on the job, known as “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” The phenomenon has also been dubbed by IT executives as “Bring Your Own Disaster“.

Indeed, on the one hand professionals view BYOD as positive, since they get to use their personal devices through their workday. From the IT executive’s point of view, however, it represents much more than a simple matter of connecting devices to the company’s network – it grows into a corporate IT security matter.

It has therefore become indispensable for CIOs to deeply understand the two sides of this new trend and its implications.

From the point of view of the users/employees, it is often the case that their personal smart phones are more efficient than the company devices, which usually have limited and insufficient e-mail space, obliging them to use their personal email accounts to send heavy files. Furthermore, for them the collaborative applications available on their personal devices are a determining aspect of their productivity.

From the IT Executive’s perspective, however, complying with corporate regulations is often more important than remaining popular among their employees. Another relevant aspect is that only a very small percentage of IT executives are driven by innovation, the majority is drifted by cost reduction and infrastructure management, without having enough time to explore innovative ways to optimize the business process.

Although the pressure towards the implementation of a clear corporate mobile strategy has become unavoidable, there are several obstacles that need to be addressed in order to preserve the company’s IT security. Allowing everything to go mobile entails acknowledging the intensification of security threats and their increased complexity, and managing devices from different platforms is nowadays a tortuous path.

Mobile Device Management

In order to protect themselves from these threats, companies are examining Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions in order to obtain a structured and unique system that will administer all their devices, regardless of the platform or type of device. Another interesting movement is being presented by companies developing enterprise applications for internal use only.

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Companies need to sharpen their strategy to support this new trend, as the world is more mobile than ever. For example, in 2012 there were 15.5 million smartphones sold in Brazil, while notebooks sales reached 13.1 million. The tablets market is still nascent market, with only 2.1 million units sold.

Considering the increasing need and demand for mobile solutions, companies need to retain some key points:

– Managing is better than banning mobile devices;

– The employee’s mobile experience is key and has to be taken into consideration;

– Security, governance and compliance are fundamental;

– Technological partners are essential to helping the company cope with infrastructure needs;

– Enterprises don’t necessarily have to implement a large-scale mobile project. Start small, evaluate the benefits and then expand the project to the entire company.

Within the mobile world, BYOD emerges as a new opportunity as well as a danger, viruses or jail brakes in mobile devices like smartphones or tablets jeopardize the companies’ security. This is why it is crucial to face these menaces as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Bruno Tasco is an IT Research Analyst with international research firm Frost & Sullivan. Tasco is based in Brazil and he keeps an eye on information technology industry in Latin America.

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