The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is being fueled by both companies and employees for starkly different reasons. So far, the growing presence of personal devices in the office is primarily relegated to mobile, such as iPhones and iPads, rather than computers. In voluntary BYOD situations, employees often bring tablets and phones to work out of frustration, either because nothing has been issued to them, or because they don’t like the hardware offered by the company.
Even in cases where IT departments are supportive of integrating non-standard hardware into the workplace, BYOD can still become a friction point, as employees are conscious of the hardware costs shifting from the company to themselves. For companies, the primary dangers become data loss, as cloud data syncing is more difficult to control when employees use personal devices, and as a byproduct, data theft. Malware-related security issues are no less frightening either, as it becomes difficult to impose company-wide security policies on equipment that is unowned by the company. Finally, companies that are subject to data compliance mandates have a more difficult time ensuring that employees fall in line.
Many top-tier companies have responded by offering high-profile tablet rollouts. Tim Cook noted in Apple’s April earnings report that 94% of Fortune 500 companies were deploying iPads to their employees, and Salesforce.com recently bought 2,000 iPads for its sales employees.
The trends appear to point to a future where the consumerization of IT seems inevitable. Most Enterprise companies will either deploy hardware that they deem to be widely popular, or allow employees to purchase their equipment on a reimbursement plan. Once that happens, the challenge then becomes standardizing security protocols, software and productivity apps on a large number of disparate devices.
Meanwhile, hardware manufacturers are increasingly rolling out guidelines as they see devices that were once aimed squarely at consumers adopted by companies, such as this Apple iPhone Deployment Guide for Enterprise Companies.