Here's what's wrong with the BYOD era

Tuesday, September 10 2013
Here's what's wrong with the BYOD era

As of late, bring-your-own-device policies have become de rigueur in the corporate world. Companies quickly figured out that it was easier and cheaper to have employees use their own smartphones, laptops and tablets than buying gadgets for everyone and providing model-specific training.

The BYOD era has come on simply because of convenience. Enterprises can have workers install necessary programs like a cloud storage app and video conferencing software to enhance productivity. And it's nearly impossible to argue with that logic. After all, it'd be foolish to supply an entire staff with Android devices if everyone already has an iPhone and knows how to use it. Additionally, there seems to be no reason for businesses to buy new hardware when staff members have their own.

But all that is forgetting all the potential issues involved with BYOD. Joe Johnson, mobility program manager at the General Services Administration, highlighted some of the problems from a veritable laundry list in an interview with FCW.

"Some of that has to do with legal, some of that has to do with employee unions – who pays for the devices, are they getting reimbursed? What are the legal implications of data that could be lost? It's a Pandora's box that I don't think anybody has really figured out yet," Johnson said.

Just because no one's really figured BYOD out, at least in Johnson's estimation, doesn't mean that companies aren't getting close. By thinking about potential issues, businesses can actually make these policies work and not wind up with a total disaster.

A flood of viruses and lack of interoperability
According to Network World, Erik Greenwood, CTO of the Anaheim Union High School District, used to face a terrible problem at the end of every summer. When teachers would come back to school, their devices were loaded with malware and viruses that infected the district's network.

This is also an issue that businesses have to deal with. When companies implement BYOD policies, they're essentially putting security in their employees' hands.

Further, there's a risk that staff members' devices won't be interoperable, meaning that they won't be able to share data. Of course, this ultimately defeats the purpose of BYOD.

When enterprises enact these strategies, they have to think about these problems during the initial planning stages. Reacting to these issues will never be as effective as taking a proactive approach and eliminating them entirely.