Debunking the Over-Hype of BYOD

BYOD: A movement that streamlined communications and empowered employees. Well, perhaps not.

We believe that Bring Your Own Device may well go down in history as one of the most overused and overhyped terms in business jargon history. And here we explain why, and beyond this… what may be next for the workplace that is truly forward-thinking and harnessing the innovations of tomorrow.

Getting to the surprisingly simple nitty gritty of most BYOD schemes

Let’s not talk in corporate-filled jargon, and let’s define what most BYOD schemes really are and the (rather few, and rather basic) tasks that they are used for. To this end, for the most part, the majority of BOYD schemes simply consist of: always on-the-go and accessible emails, the use of and sharing of documents (wherever and whenever), the partaking in the odd conference call or two and communication that is made lightning fast (with the help of an IM program).

When all’s said and done this isn’t the technology harnessing of the next century. This is business as usual. Only always on the go. This is why it’s time to debunk the hype of BYOD and recognize it for what it is.

Goodbye BYOB. Hello CYOD slash EOD hybrid

It’s predicted by trusted industry insight body, Gartner, that by 2020 there’ll be in excess of 60% of the workforce (across the world, no less) that use their own device for at least some work tasks. However this isn’t the same as saying that 60% of people will be part of a fully-fledged BYOD scheme. And what’s more it seems that from the very start that BOYD neglected to truly fulfil its promise. Most specifically it was a movement that appeared to completely neglect key enterprise examples and industry segments: from defence based bodies through to construction companies, BYOD offered little and delivered even less, with specialist applications and capabilities by such industries seriously lacking on what were, after all, just personal devices.

Specialized enterprise devices

A further complication to the traditional BYOD scene is the range of devices that any one enterprise can support. And with new models coming from Apple, Samsung and every brand in-between on an ever more frequent basis companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with a list of allowed devices that is even half way up-to-date.

The future: CYOD: Choose your own device / EOD: Enterprise Owned Device

CYOD / EOD schemes promise to overcome many of the limitations of the standard BYOD scheme, and what’s more specialist enterprise devices are also promising much in the way of improved security. Contrary to BYOD schemes in which, amongst other security holes, defy email security best practices to no end.

For the industry where specialist devices are required (such as upon the average construction site, where workers could benefit from specialist wireless communication provided through robust devices) CYOD / EOD seems set to truly meet their needs in a way that BYOD never could.

Stop focusing upon the over-hyped BYOD scene, and concentrate on what CYOD and EOD can bring to the workplace of tomorrow.

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Small Business Lessons from Hillary Clinton’s BYOD Fiasco

Bring your own device (BYOD) policies have landed front row center in the headlines, though not in the most direct way. In this case, the fervor over Hillary Clinton’s emails has lead to a lot of discussion surrounding BYOD and the best practices companies and organizations should adopt. For those not up to date with the news, the controversy surrounds the former Secretary of State choosing to use a personal email server for all her emails whether they were personal or related to her governmental duties. It was later discovered that she deleted a good portion of her emails, prompting further investigation and more questions. So why pursue these actions regarding her emails? Clinton claims it was for convenience since she didn’t want to carry around multiple devices. She also claims she deleted certain emails out of concern for her privacy. Political opponents have disputed these claims, but that’s not the point of this article.

What most small businesses can take away from this fiasco are lessons about how best to adopt BYOD and the common mistakes to avoid.

Make BYOD Policies Clear and Concise

Any organization adopting a BYOD policy usually has to create a shift in the organization’s culture. That requires setting out policies that outline the proper use of personal devices while at work. Moving to a BYOD policy normally requires an adjustment period, and that time can be made much smoother should the adopted policy be clear and easy-to-understand. In the Clinton case, the exact policies of the State Department may have been hard to follow, leading to confusion over what was appropriate for proper business use. Organizations should be careful not to make this mistake. They need to determine if personal emails are appropriate to use for work purposes. They also need to explain how personal devices should be handled in the office or on the road. The easier it is to understand a BYOD policy, the fewer problems will arise.

Divide Personal Data From Business Data

When using a personal smartphone or tablet at work as part of a BYOD policy, it’s easy to combine data between someone’s personal and professional life. For reasons of security and privacy, an employee’s personal data should always be segregated from the business data on the device. This not only helps in avoiding confusion, but it ensures that the organization cannot access data considered to be private and sensitive. Dividing data also makes it easier for businesses to protect and archive data, a feature that seemed to be sorely lacking in the Clinton case. The segregation of data makes data management easier on the whole and allows for data containerization, allowing the device user to set who has access to what information. That would make deleting emails for privacy reasons unnecessary, which would have eliminated one of the more controversial points of the Clinton email mess.

Business Applications Should be Easy-to-Use

Many organizations adopt bring your own device as a way to help employees be more productive, but all those productivity gains mean little if the approved business applications make the work more difficult. Any new policy that complicates matters more than they were before is simply inviting more trouble. If acceptable business apps make little difference for an employee, they’ll more likely look for other ways to achieve better productivity, which could put data at risk. Companies should make sure any approved business apps work well with the employee’s preferred device, thereby avoiding conflict and more violated rules.

The lessons from the Hillary Clinton email scandal are a good way for organizations of any type to learn what some common BYOD mistakes are. A company may not have the same high profile as the State Department, but the security surrounding simple things like email is still of vital importance when using personal devices. The issues raised in the fiasco can serve as a good starting point for organizations to discuss what works with their own BYOD policies and what can change. With clearer rules designed to address the demands of employees, many of the problems encountered in the Clinton email situation can be avoided, and the benefits of BYOD can come to the forefront.

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