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There aren’t many downsides to BYOD, says Stuart Dommett, business content marketing practice lead at Intel, but there are certainly some risks involved which provide challenges for IT departments and the technology culture in enterprises.
From an enterprise IT perspective, allowing staff to bring their own devices to work, and use them on the shared network, can put excessive stress and strain into the system. That stress can come not only from a security perspective, but also in terms of maintenance. From a business perspective of course, it can lead to great gains in productivity, and staff are usually keen to use their own devices, which may be considerably better and more capable than those provided by the firm. But managing the use and security of all those devices can be difficult for IT departments to maintain, and this has to be taken into consideration when planning a BYOD strategy.
Maintenance can also be an issue. If someone’s personal device breaks, it’s not just their problem, because while their device is out of action, they’re unable to work with their same level of productivity. So it makes sense to have a system in place to help maintain a potentially huge variety of devices, from mobile phones to laptops and now wearable technology too. Each type of technology has different requirements, and not all departments will have the resources to allow for every eventuality. And for that reason, a decision has to be made about how far the in-house IT department can be expected to go in covering all possible issues – when you bring your own laptop to work, you may also have to bring your own IT support.
That’s not an easy issue to manage, and it’s finding a balance between a centralised IT department that controls everything, and a more open approach that can respond optimally to the demands of business and staff, that will prove a challenge for IT in the near future.