BYOD not an option, but a necessity for enterprises

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the new wave sweeping enterprises across all segments. It has opened better opportunities for enterprises embracing mobility to improve performance of their workforce while also delivering efficiency in business.

The use of smartphones and tablets within enterprises has changed the way information is accessed and shared by employees across the globe and has urged IT departments to consider mobility as the core of their IT strategies.

In Ovum’s BYOD multi-market survey 2013, 62.2 percent of employees stated that having access to corporate data outside working hours makes them most productive.

“From smartphones to mobile apps, social software, the cloud and 4G networks, the wave of innovation in consumer technology is transforming the way companies do business, both inside and outside the enterprise,” said Anil Sharma, director, LogMeIn India, a provider of remote support services.

No doubt, BYOD is creating a new corporate culture wherein employees are no more tied to their desktop to access information and communicate with their colleagues. The figures reveal that BYOD is gaining momentum irrespective of the challenges associated with it.

Mobile employee

Infonetics Research recently revealed that organizations are planning major increases in wireless coverage, growing their access points by more than 20 percent by 2015 to support wireless devices, user mobility, and guest access. Respondent organizations participated in Infonetics survey average around 9,000 devices on their networks today.

Almost 2/3 of enterprises surveyed allow their employees to bring their own devices into the enterprise today, a significant jump from Infonetics’ 2012 WLAN survey. Respondents also revealed that mobile devices account for half of all network devices by 2015.

As enterprises BYOD programs continue to become more commonplace, 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, said a recent CIO survey from Gartner.

Like BYOD, Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) is also gaining popularity.  Gartner recently predicted that by 2017 one quarter of enterprises will have an enterprise app store for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on PCs and mobile devices.

Another upcoming trend in BYOD space is the Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE). The new trend promises to fix some of the concerns related to BYOD, said Akash Mainra, business lead- Large Enterprise, BlackBerry India, to Infotech Lead.

“The COPE model offers businesses a new way of acknowledging and embracing consumerization by giving some control back to IT without depriving users of devices that make them more productive. COPE is a win-win situation for both employees and employers treading the fine balance between security and privacy concerns,” Mainra said.

However, BYOD also comes with associated challenges. Several enterprises have by now realized that BYOD is a double-edged sword because at one instance, it increases productivity but on the other, it makes enterprise networks prone to serious security threats.

Managing the devices and applications entering the network has been tough task for companies. Identifying a proper mobile device management (MDM) and mobile security management strategy that meet the requirements of the business and implementing them across all strategic levels key to ensure BYOD success.

Says Sreehari S, managing director, India Development Center, Novell, “Emergence of BYOD and Mobile Access opens doors to a wide range of security threats. While CIOs make all efforts to make the environment secure, they also need access to actionable security intelligence to respond to potential threats quickly and decisively.”

The latest mobility trends have also contributed to increase the role of CIOs in enterprises. As the custodian of data in enterprises, CIOs role is getting tougher. In addition to delivering the key roles in area such as software security, compliance and business continuity, CIOs now also have to ensure security across a variety of devices.

Says Govind Rammurthy, MD and CEO, eScan, “As mobile devices undergo rapid transformation and many new devices are introduced in the markets at regular intervals, it becomes difficult for IT team to keep pace with changes in devices and their adoption, constantly changing and managing the permitted list of devices and security policies around them to better answer BYOD.”

The present demand and concern of the CIOs are to keep up with the growing cloud, mobility demands and fix the IT skill gap. The rapid proliferation of different types of mobile devices, operating systems and applications is impeding business’ efforts to adopt a fixed MDM strategy.

Solution vendors have understood the latest demands from enterprises and devised solutions to address the concerns of customers. Of late, LogMeIn has introduced a new update for LogMeIn’s flagship product Rescue, the new Rescue now provides over-the-air (OTA) capabilities for configuring, diagnosing, troubleshooting, and when necessary, remote controlling the world’s most popular Android smartphones and tablets.

NetApp, a storage and data management company, is helping enterprises embrace BYOD by offering unified, secured, and multi-tenant storage solutions.  The recently launched NetApp Connect allows efficient data sharing, and mobile device access solutions, said Vinay P, director Sales – India Key Accounts, NetApp, in a recent interaction with Infotech Lead.

“NetApp Connect offers mobile access to corporate data while maintaining the tight security and control that enterprise IT requires for keeping its data and business protected. It also allows mobile workers a compelling user experience and effortless access to the corporate information they need to be productive in the field, whether online or offline,” Vinay said.

Novell, another software vendor for enterprises, delivers Security Management solutions that provide visibility and control of user activities, security events, and critical systems across the organization to help reduce the risk of a data breach and keep your systems compliant.

BlackBerry, a leading smartphone vendor, recently launched Enterprise Service 10 platform. BES10 represents a consolidation of BlackBerry’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) product portfolio, which includes Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management, and Security solutions leveraging the BlackBerry infrastructure.

BlackBerry is planning to expand the reach to SMB market. The company will soon launch a new multi-platform cloud enterprise mobility management solution in India to enable businesses to easily secure and manage corporate and personal devices, the company said recently.

BYOD has also contributed to the growth of several segments such as cloud-based MDM and security services. Gartner predicts that cloud-based security services will generate $2.1 billion this year, jumping to $3.1 billion in 2015.

Cloud-based e-mail security, Web security services and identity and access management will remain the most popular segments, according to Gartner.

BYOD adoption is growing across all markets including healthcare, education, financial services, banks, retail and more. However, certain business segments are sure catch for BYOD as the corporate culture demands that. For example, IT enabled services (BPM services) and IT services sector is one of the fastest segments to adopt BYOD because the average employee age is mid 20s.

In a recent interaction with Infotech Lead, Anantha Radhakrishnan, SVP and global head Enterprise services, Business transformation and Technology services, Infosys BPO, said Infosys BPO has embraced select new smart devices as part of the enterprise ecosystem for a part of the employee population. This employee pool of BYODer’s will gradually get expanded based on business need.

“Most of our technology value accelerator solutions are now getting multi device and operating system compatible and help clients and the folks in their ecosystem including our employees who work for them access required data on the go. As we expand it further we will ensure this is done within the gold standards on data security/privacy and robustness of availability,” Radhakrishnan said.

In this scenario when enterprise networks become more complex due to the proliferation of devices, an integrated approach to BYOD policy management across device, application and network has the potential to enable CIOs to manage the policy complexity of BYOD and hence deliver a more consistent, simple experience to the employee, said Sudhir Narang, managing director- India, BT, to Infotech Lead.

To make BYOD and smart devices an active part of any business, an organization needs to consider many interdependent layers, Narang said. BT Advise BYOD Strategy and Planning Quick Start service, for example, helps organizations plan the implementation of BYOD across all areas of an organisation including end users, policy, application, devices, security, operations, and infrastructure.

The integrated approach will help enterprises identify the steps need to minimize potential risks. It also provides a pragmatic assessment of how prepared an organization is for the strategic introduction of smart devices and BYOD. This will help organizations make technology investments that are linked to the transformational benefits and get the most from all its mobile devices, according to Narang of BT.

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Rajani Baburajan

[email protected]