by Peter Schay, President and CEO of TAC
I recently saw an article which quoted from an obviously self-serving vendor survey of attendees at an industry conference that, “67% of respondents think that BYOD increases IT and security costs.”
Give me a break. Does anyone really think that bring-your-own-device would reduce costs? BYOD isn’t about cost reduction; it’s about responding to psychologically driven demands from end-users. The vendors of smartphones and tablets, led by Apple, have developed devices with wonderful visual and functional appeal, and have marketed them consummately. Employees in today’s consumer-oriented culture expect to be able to “have it your way,” regardless of whether there is any financial benefit to the business.
IT leaders inevitably have to be responsive “to the business,” but BYOD — far more than PCs in the 1980s — conflates end-user desires with actual business needs. Since business executives are likely to be among those end-users demanding support for some sexy smartphone or tablet, political imperatives require support for BYOD lest — as is so often the case among business executives — IT be perceived as once again obstructionist.
Costs could conceivably go down with BYOD, but only if two policies are implemented: (1) employees with BYOD are on their own when it comes to wireless carrier charges, while the enterprise absorbs the carrier charges for company-owned devices, and (2) “support” from IT is limited to allowing BYOD connection to the enterprise network, without IT involvement in the management of the device. The problem, of course, with policy (2) is the huge security exposure it creates. Also, even if an organization is willing to live with security risks of (2), how likely is it that BYOD users are not going to call the help desk when they have problems?
TAC has helped clients successfully address BYOD issues (policies, device management, security, etc.) in industries ranging from manufacturing to professional services. If you’re struggling with BYOD issues, contact us — we can also help you.