BYOD: Modern Day Asbestos?

BYOD: Modern Day Asbestos?

Periodically, I like to take some time to reflect on some of the current industry drivers to review the ones that are moving forward against the ones that are faltering. These days the industry tends to be driven by marketing instead of substance. Marketing is an interesting area, since it's really like a game of darts where the bull's-eye is constantly changing places. To me, an industry led by marketing is like putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Marketing has a habit of overstating what products can actually do, and a lot of times promote concepts that the technology can't actually address yet. Technology is always in a state of catch-up thanks to marketing professionals.

BYOD is definitely one of those areas where the concept was promoted well ahead of actual ability. At its core, BYOD sounded like a win-win for most companies, allowing end-users to select and pay for their own devices and still be able to use them for work where they are fully managed and secure.

While BYOD garnered a lot of attention at the onset, according to a new report from CompTIA, the majority of larger companies are doing nothing with BYOD. They may have attempted to do something with it initially, but have since let it drop. On one hand, blame marketing. Whey BYOD was the rage, many companies were immediately struck by the complexities and inabilities of technology, finding that the cost was too great. On the other hand, according to the report, end-users have pushed back, not comfortable with the company having any level of control over their own personal devices.

All along the way, there were warnings that BYOD may not work out, but companies pushed forward anyway, led by an alluring marketing sector designed to create a new industry where one didn’t exist to help offset the supposed demise of the PC industry.

In a way, BYOD is like a modern day asbestos. Dating back 4,500 years, man has used asbestos in all sorts of applications, but it wasn't until modern day manufacturing that asbestos became the gold of the moment. The uses were promoted as extraordinary, being embedded in clothing and included in all construction.

But, as it became a popular ingredient and its uses expanded, its health detriments came to light. And, as we've all experienced, asbestos is now a no-no. At least someone in our families has been affected by it. An entire legal industry had grown up around compensation for health impact. Due to the increase in health-related hazards, in the 1980's armies of health agents were enlisted to identify and yank it from construction. But, this didn't come without warnings. The 1st century Greeks and Romans had already reported health problems among slaves weaving asbestos into clothing. Marketing saw an industry opportunity and extolled the virtues and benefits over the supposed detriments.

As we're seeing now, according to the CompTIA report, BYOD is following a similar path. Companies have tried it, but are now pulling back due to the detrimental health of the business.

The technology is improving, but it could be too late. Mobility isn’t dying at all, it's only increasing. But, there's quite a difference between bringing your own and doing company sanctioned work.

So, I'm curious. Is BYOD still on your company's wish list?  Answer the following quick survey and let me know. I'll share the results in the near future.

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