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BYOD & BYOA – To Be or Not to Be

If you have not heard of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and BYOA (Bring Your Own App), you soon will.  BYOD and BYOA are two tech trends that are being discussed nowadays in the corporate settings.  Executives are faced with a dillema between the benefits of BYOD and BYOA and the risks that comes with it.

Before we go any further, let me tell you what BYOD and BYOA is all about:  BYOD refers to employees who bring their own computing devices – such as smartphones, notebooks and PDAs – to the workplace for use and connectivity on the corporate network.

BYOA on the other hand pertains the trend wherein employee use third-party applications and cloud services and bring it in the workplace. COnsumerization of I.T. embraces both BYOD and BYOA.

The question now is are we ready for BYOD and BYOA?

There are advantages and disadvantages in adapting BYOD and BYOA but as early as now, let me just say that the benefits outweighs the risk.  So let’s discuss the benefits and the downside of BYOD and BYOA.

For most companies who are considering BYOD / BYOA, the primary consideration with this new trend is that companies will be able to cut there cost since office workers will now bring their own device and run their own application.  But a recent survey made by Dimension Data reveals that 19 percent of businesses simply wanted to please their employees. Another 17 percent of businesses thought that the program would increase productivity, while 15 percent assumed that the move would lower the company’s mobile expenditures.

To some extent, these are all true or is it?  Companies need not buy new computers or notebooks if their workers decided to bring their own device in the office and use it for their work.  But then again, the survey result also indicated that for companies who previously enforced a BYOD policy, 67 percent said that the program had no effect on company costs. 24 percent believed that BYOD had actually raised expenses and only a mere 9 percent of businesses were able to successfully lower costs.

With BYOD / BYOA, the greatest hindrance for companies to implement BYOD / BYOA is security.  Companies will have no control over the devices and applications their employees are using unless the company is willing to spend and set up a new security policy that will govern both BYOD / BYOA.  With the current setup, network administrators can easily put in place security policies into the server or to every company PCs or notebooks.  But with BYOD, workers will now bring smartphones, tablets and/or computers and it will really be difficult to control the way workers will access information – this is consumerization of I.T. in full swing.  This is one challenge every companies should deal with.

Just how many applications are out there ready for download?  According to ComTIA, as of April 2012, there are 600,000+ apps for Apple.  500,000+ for Android, 60,000+ for Blackberry and 70,000+ apps for Windows.  Too many apps with different platforms, some paid some free.

But don’t get me wrong, BYOD / BYOA has its advantages as well.  Workers are more comfortable with their own device.  Workers can be at any place and still work and collaborate with clients.  Office workers can promote communities amongst themselves and/or with clients.

So the bottomline is this, a company should be ready and should plan carefully if BYOD / BYOA will benefit them.  If the result of the study is not, then don’t implement BYOD / BYOA.  If the study result is encouraging, then by all means implement BYOD / BYOA.

One more thing, I would encourage all companies to check their security tools and apps because as you are reading this – BYOD / BYOA is already happening in your office.  BYOD / BYOA can really help grow the business and help workers become more productivty, so prohibiting BYOD / BYOA into the company would be counter-productive.  Implement BYOD / BYOA but with limits.

(Article written by Jerry Liao)

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