BYOD: Not living up to its aspirations?

BYOD: Not living up to its aspirations?

A recent article on CIO.com reports on a survey done by CompTIA on attitudes towards BYOD. The birds eye view is that the benefits of BYOD aren’t providing a substantial enough counterweight to the drawbacks of the strategy.

I’ve always used my own devices for work. Mostly because I’m a geek and I thought that the computers I was provisioned with by the organization I worked for were a bit rubbish, and that for most of the last 20 decades I’ve been senior enough in whatever position I held to use whatever I wanted without too many questions being posed.

It turns out however that there is a big difference between allowing the geek who runs the network to use their own device and allowing Mavis in accounting to use her own device. The main takeaways from the CIO.com article were that:

  • Employees often gamed the system, so BYOD ended up costing more than shoveling a corporate approved standardized configuration in the direction of employees.
  • Employees don’t like the strings that are attached. It’s one thing to be able to bring a computer that you have complete sovereignty over to the office. It’s another to have IT have to install management and monitoring software to ensure that the organization’s compliance responsibilities are met. The “sell” on BYOD was that people got to use their own private machines. The reality was that while people are using their own machines, they aren’t really “private”
  • That productivity “improvements” have been hard to measure. While BYOD has been sold as improving worker productivity, it turns out that no one has actually proven this to be the case. In the survey, fewer than 50% believed there was any improvement to productivity.
  • Security is still a big problem. The CIO article quotes a Centrify report that found that the majority of BYOD devices have third party cloud storage apps like Dropbox or OneDrive installed, and that 15% of the BYOD users surveyed admitted that their password or account had recently been compromised.

The gist of the report seems to be that when looked at in detail, BYOD seems in some organizations to have cost more money than simply provisioning users with stock managed devices. By offering BYOD policies, IT departments are able to appear responsive to user desires.

However in the long run, the most reliable determining factor on IT policy isn’t the desires of the users (or the IT department) but instead the projections contained in the spreadsheets and databases used by the accounting department.

BYOD is always going to be around, but I suspect that the death of the “corporate desktop”, long predicted, isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

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