Ten changes that BYOD brings to a CIO’s desk

By : |January 30, 2013 0

INDIA: Some tech majors have taken HR to a new level by allowing employees to bring their pets at work. Apparently, it keeps them positively engaged and happy and productive and etc and etc. Then why would anyone roll their eyes when an employee insists on bringing his/her own pet phone to work? Pet Peeves, hence, is what some would aptly call them. Well, it’s not about being a cruel boss or a sadistic, jealous employer; but about some valid furrows that BYOD runs on many a CXO’s eyebrows.

Do any of these strike to you as worrisome enough too? Check out and analyze.

1. You ruined my smart discounts with your smart-phone

Ha! You thought we would talk about security issues right away? We will, but not till we touch some not-so-oft-mentioned headaches. Ever wondered what side-effects does BYOD spell for IT honchos? Negotiation elbowroom is a chief among them, if you haven’t noticed already. Like any industry-sale scenario vs. a consumer-sale situation would slice it out, an enterprise sales cycle is definitely not an over-the-counter I-like-it-how-much-is-it purchase at all. There are many stages in this cycle and many people – influencers, users, customers, deal-watchers, contract-tailors etc involved. Bulk- and enterprise- flavor of IT deals naturally have a very crucial element of negotiating on various aspects. License costs, support damages, AMCs etc are just a few of them. When every employee prefers to strut in with their own tech devices, the first thing that hits IT purchase teams is an immediate cut made through the fleshy arms they would rather twist smartly at negotiating tables.

2. Nice phone! But does it talk?

Before you pronounce words like ‘Siri’ the question actually means that ‘does it talk to other components of IT fabric of this company?’
A reasonable query indeed. It’s none of any one’s business to chastise you or baby-sit your consumer sensibilities of course. But it does become a bit of someone’s business when the tech-doll you want to carry in the company’s corridors does not stay friendly with others’ tech toys. Compatibility is a clincher here. The device has to sync in well with other applications, networking nuances and software apps that are to be wired together in order for the job you do to be done smoothly. Your device has to be socially-savvy if not an extrovert.

3. Not an extrovert -Now remember that.

If you want the company to respect your space, the same rule applies when it comes to the company’s data and vital assets. The device you haul in has to follow the protocols and sensitivity-boundaries so that nothing about your employer is compromised while you chat away or enjoy a good game or message your friends. Downloading applications is your prerogative, but not if any of them uploads any company information out of the precincts set.

4. Arrgh! Security alarms beep.

You must have already heard long sermons of how BYOD makes the job of a CSO or any of those company-border-watch soldiers tougher than ever. Not surprisingly to read in an ISACA survey then that IT professionals in India continue to remain resistant to the BYOD trend. Here, 56 per cent reported that the risk outweighs the benefit.

 

Gartner’s predictions highlight that through 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices. Corporate networks will become more like college and university networks, which were the original “bring your own device” (BYOD) environments, it emphasized.

Because colleges and universities lack control over students’ devices, they focus on protecting their networks by enforcing policies that govern network access. Gartner believes that enterprises will adopt a similar approach and will block or restrict access for those devices that are not compliant with corporate policies. Enterprises that adopt BYOD initiatives should establish clear policies that outline which employee-owned devices will be allowed and which will be banned.

The ISACA survey too pointed out that regarding security controls for employees’ personal devices, 47 per cent of Indian enterprises reported deploying password management controls as a security layer, compared to China and Europe (44 per cent) and US (42 per cent). India registered lower interest on remote wipe capability (29 per cent), which allows employers to erase the contents of an employee’s personal device as a security measure, compared to US (46 per cent), China (39 per cent) and Europe (37 per cent). As Gartner rightly remarked, in the BYOD era, security professionals will need to diligently monitor vulnerability announcements and security incidents involving mobile devices and respond appropriately with policy updates.

That explains why the ISACA survey stresses in adding how India stood first among its global counterparts in prohibiting BYOD, with nearly half or 46 per cent of Indian enterprises successfully deploying a BYOD policy to prohibit the use of personal mobile devices for work to mitigate the risk to the enterprise. Well, this trend was followed by Europe (39 per cent), China (30 per cent) and US (29 per cent) too.

Is this why that non-involvement of business heads and budget constraints remain the greatest hurdles for Indian IT companies for addressing IT related business risk? The ISACA survey noted that 33 per cent of the respondents felt that the business heads are not fully engaging in risk management and 21 per cent said that the budget limits remain an issue to effectively addressing risk. At the same time, 39 per cent of the Indian respondents felt that the situation can be improved by increasing risk awareness among employees.

5. Conflicts and dilemmas

To be or not to be, has changed into ‘to BYOD or not to’ for understandable reasons. On one hand, any company would not want to be perceived as someone that gags an employee’s democratic right to use a device of choice or his/her privacy rights, but on the other hand, the ripple-effects have anarchy factors worth a worry. A recent ISACA survey also unveiled some interesting trends regarding company policies about personal use of work devices. It was observed that 58 per cent of Indian respondents say their enterprises prohibit access to social networking sites from a work-supplied device. This was registered as highest when compared with China (33 per cent), Europe (30 per cent) and US (32 per cent). Now when you hear prohibitions, that’s not a bolt from the blue.

The survey showed that 45 per cent of Indian respondents reported that their enterprise prohibits its employees from shopping online using work-supplied devices, whereas enterprises in Europe (21 per cent), US (20 per cent) and China (19 per cent) are more permissive.

6. Is your Tablet a bitter pill?

While you buy the devices that fit your taste, wallet-size and peer-group conformities (No? ok, we just thought as well); your seemingly small spend hairballs mysteriously into a big cut in the IT wallets of your company.Technology spends are rising even as IT spends take a hit. A number of analyst firms have hinted at this contradiction of sorts and how it is impacting the spends available with CIOs. Gartner has suggested already that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. That shift is expected to start as early as 2013, while marketers have donned many different hats and take on more responsibilities in technology and campaign management. This trend is indirectly linked to consumerisation of IT and that in turn to, BYOD.

Worldwide devices spending which includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers, is forecast to reach $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 percent from 2012, as per Gartner’s crystal ball. Notably enough, this is a significant reduction in the outlook for 2013 compared with Gartner’s previous forecast of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9 percent growth.

These reductions reflect a sharp reduction in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets that is only partially offset by marginal increases in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers. The long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced as well, with growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 percent annually in current U.S. dollars (down from 6.4 percent) and 5.1 percent annually in constant dollars (down from 7.4 percent).

 

7. If we allow, we virtualise and suggest apps too

BYOD has hit mainstream and impacts first generation mobile device management solutions. The move by IT to allow BYOD by employees hits mainstream; the corporate-issued laptop begins to become a bygone piece of equipment. IT realizes that it’s able to control devices remotely through virtualization while simultaneously allowing individuals to use the devices that make them happiest and most productive. When we look closely at what is corroborated by the Citrix ‘Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) Index’, which surveyed 700 IT decision-makers and organizations around the globe; one can see that in India, a little over 40 per cent companies already have a BYOD policy already in place. Apart from this, 95 per cent of the polled respondents expect a BYOD policy to be institutionalized in their respective companies by 2013.

With BYOD becoming mainstream, draconian mobile device management measures will cease to be effective and the contours of MDM will be redefined. Companies will not want a blanket kill pill but will need to adapt to the changing devices that are coming into the enterprise. In the form of a powerful feature of app delivery, a feature of management infrastructure; a feature of data protection solutions whether in the OS, app delivery or platform, mobile device management will become an enhancement to a much broader enterprise mobility strategy.

8. Baby out with the bath water

Many other IT elements like choice of platforms, operating infrastructure, all those iron boxes, networking paraphernalia etc get affected in due course of time when BYOD ribbons float around. A recent survey that polled respondents on operating system preferences revealed a lack of loyalty to any single operating system for use on most multi-function devices. Nearly two-thirds (66 per cent) indicated they might consider purchasing a mobile or computing device with a different operating system.

Note that some 24 per cent said they would consider a switch to “see what else is on the market”; 23 per cent to “have a better user experience with another operating system”; and 23 per cent to “get access to more innovative services and applications.”

Consumer’s fickle mood swings and tastes with things like platforms etc can mean a lot of work for IT teams that would rather prefer standardisation and seamless pieces. 

9. Who will bell the cat and put a leash on the pets?

Translate all the above worries in one word and it’s not hard to guess why CIOs are so concerned about BYOD wave. The word is ‘control’. Allowing freedom with devices becomes an issue only because it immediately flips into un-planned chaos at the CIO and IT Team’s end. Remember those days where the industry was abuzz with debates over allowing Orkut or Face book or other such elements at work? Simply enough, BYOD when handled without planning can run haywire on many angles.

 

May be there’s a reason why parents get all the more anxious when their kids grow up and are out on a prom on their own. Is it because those ball-dances have a similar-sounding maxim ‘Bring Your Own Date’?

10. Finally, and most importantly

Your choice of design and model etc is not something that is up to your CIO’s taste probably and that’s a good enough reason to reject BYOD. What if his/her favourite colour is not purple enough? Think before you blink.

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