Is BYOD dead?

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I came across an interesting 2014 prediction by IDC--"BYOD as an enterprise mobility strategy is dead." Well, that certainly grabbed my attention.

Instead, IDC expects CYOD--choose your own device--to replace BYOD. This involves employees choosing from a limited number of corporate purchased mobile devices, an approach also called COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled).

The reasons that IDC provides for the demise of BYOD seem valid. "Organizations evaluating mobility strategically will look to CYOD as the main adoption model where management and security can be standardized and guaranteed, and business processes can be mobilized," IDC explains.

Charles Anderson, head of telecoms and mobility for IDC Asia-Pacific, elaborates in a ZDNet article: "I hate to be the bearer of bad news but one thing is that BYOD doesn't have a great [return on investment] ROI, there isn't one." He cites the significant costs supporting and providing security for multiple devices and platforms.

Well, I have to agree with Anderson about that. There are significant costs in supporting a BYOD program. Of course, the enterprise also gets the cost savings of not having to buy all of those mobile devices. So ultimately, it is probably a wash in terms of costs.

But the reason that BYOD will not die is that workers, particularly younger workers, won't let it die. Even if the enterprise prohibits BYOD devices, they will bring them anyway, creating a more challenging and riskier security environment.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the CTIA wireless trade association, a majority of employees use their personal mobile devices at work, whether their companies permit it or not.

In addition, a majority of Gen Y employees say that would ignore BYOD policies at their companies, according to a survey of 3,200 Gen Y employees by security firm Fortinet.

Workers have been driving the BYOD trend all along, and they will thwart efforts by enterprises to reverse it. Better for the enterprise to accept BYOD and develop ways to harness its productivity while addressing the security risks. This can be done through various widely available technologies, such as enterprise mobility management platforms, containerization and data encryption.

To misquote Mark Twain, the reports of BYOD's death are greatly exaggerated. - Fred

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