Don’t tell anyone, but I used to subvert my employer’s IT policies. Saddled with relatively archaic computers and a scary workload, I brought my own computers and smartphones into the office on the sly so I could leverage the latest cloud services and hit my work objectives.
Such make-it-work practices are no longer innovative or sketchy, however; iDevices and the tablet revolution have ushered in a revolution where many of us now regularly bring our own device (BYOD) into work.
This BYOD trend, of course, calls for a rethink of IT policies as more employees come with their own devices and effectively create their own private clouds to get work done.
“People won’t stop using their personal tablets for work because their enterprise IT departments don’t want to support them,” wrote Xavier Martin, Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) VP of messaging and communications, in a recent Enriching Communications article, BYOD Accelerates Appetite for Personal Cloud. “Tablets fulfill both desires and workplace needs so people will simply continue to use the devices for work without providing any visibility to their IT departments.”
But BYOD can create problems, he noted.
“This can put enterprises in a risky position if the device is lost or stolen,” he wrote. “IT won’t even know that it has happened. And there may not be a backup. Corporate data could end up in the public domain or lost forever.”
Enterprises can adapt to the BYOD and personal cloud trend by adopting thee strategies, he wrote.
Rethink services. The corporate apps enterprises IT departments distribute should be available on all platforms and able to be used even on personal devices.
“An enterprise app store gives people the levels of flexibility and control they want,” suggested Martin. “Instead of pushing the same device-centric communications services to the entire employee population, IT departments need to offer a broad choice of user-centric applications. Employees can choose the apps that are best-suited to their role, objectives and current tasks. And they can change them when necessary.”
Evolve the network to possess application fluency. Application fluency means the network must be able to recognize different types of traffic data and be able to prioritize and monitor traffic as needed.
“Network access control is another important requirement to support BYOD,” added Martin. “The network should be able to grant access to devices that are recognized, even though they are personal devices. It should also be able to block access to non-recognized devices. This stops stolen or unauthorized devices from accessing the corporate network.”
Adopt a cloud-based approach to IT. Finally, he suggested that enterprises must adopt the cloud more fully by developing a cloud-based approach to IT that allows access to apps, services and other resources “anytime, anywhere—with bandwidth, QoS and priority of service that matches business objectives.” This in fact is an area where Alcatel-Lucent has a comprehensive solution, OpenTouch™ Conversation software.
BYOD is here, not just rogue behavior exhibited by a few aggressive workaholics who like to get things done at any cost. Enterprises need to adapt or pay the consequences.
Edited by Peter Bernstein