BYOD Brings New Challenges For Businesses
June 18, 2012 Jenny Thomas
In theory, the explosion of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets should be great for businesses around the globe. Employees are more connected to their jobs than ever before, and they are footing the bill for the privilege of using their personal devices. Why wouldn’t companies be jumping for joy at this new computing trend?
While business are adapting quickly to mobile-enable their IT infrastructures to meet the growing demand for mobile device use in the enterprise IT environment, a survey recently conducted by the analysts at Gartner found that this willingness to include personal mobile computing devices–meaning those bought by you, not by your company–into existing IT systems is also causing those same businesses to take a look at some very serious concerns.
The focus of the Gartner survey was to determine corporate plans for mobile device adoption; bring your own device (BYOD) policy; and investment in data centers and adopting technology drivers, including hosted virtual desktop (HVD) for enterprise mobility. (This is what most people called virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, just so we are all on the same abbreviation page here.) Gartner found that many enterprises are allowing personal mobile devices to connect to the enterprise network, with 90 percent saying they have already deployed mobile devices (smartphones being most widely deployed), and 86 percent reporting they plan to deploy media tablets this year.
But along with the proliferation of BYOD, there are many security issues for enterprises to consider before they invest in mobile computing. Businesses know there is reason to worry, and the top concerns named by enterprises welcoming these devices are “use of privately owned devices” and “deployment of new enterprise mobile platforms.”
BYOD demand was found to be higher in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) where there is a larger concentration of Generation Y employees working, but in terms of investment areas for enterprise mobility, the survey revealed that non-BRIC countries have achieved much progress in terms of data center modernization. As a result, when personal mobile devices are allowed to be used in the network and across data center infrastructure within the enterprise, businesses from non-BRIC countries indicated that they would need to invest in and improve their architecture in order to allow for the deployment of mobile devices. According to one Gartner analyst, this is because non-BRIC countries are more interested in security and privacy regulation than BRIC countries.
“Mature countries consider BYOD programs as bringing with them both legal and technical issues, whereas emerging countries only see technical issues. For instance, mature regions are more concerned with security and data privacy regulations for immature MDM [mobile device management] than emerging regions,” said Chae-Gi Lee, research director at Gartner. “In BRIC countries, employee turnover can be high in some sectors, leading to more theft of devices and data. BYOD and virtualization can reduce those enterprise losses.”
Investment in hosted virtual desktop adoption was found to be slightly higher in BRIC countries, where 22 percent of respondents indicated they had already deployed HVDs, against 20 percent in non-BRIC countries. In terms of companies that have already implemented, are currently implementing or plan to implement HVDs in the next 12 months, 91 percent of BRIC countries will have transformed their traditional desktop PC client environment to HVD by 2013. In contrast, 67 percent of respondents in non-BRIC countries said the same.
Gartner analysts believe that BYOD is an inevitable requirement of doing business and recommend that a mobility strategy team should be established as part of the IT department for data management and control. In addition, analysts advise enterprises to create a BYOD policy for balancing cost control and reimbursement.
Other recommendations from Gartner as a result of the survey include encouraging enterprises to focus on mobile data protection (MDP), network access control (NAC), and mobile device management (MDM) tools to support their BYOD and new enterprise mobile platform efforts. Gartner analysts say these technology factors are essential to establishing a standard mobile platform for enterprises.
Security is not the only new responsibility for enterprises, as many of those surveyed indicated that they also provide technical support for personal devices: 32 percent for smartphones, 37 percent for tablets, and 44 percent for laptops. However, the results around technical support varied significantly between regions, with 28 percent of respondents in non-BRIC countries receiving technical support for connecting personal devices versus 44 percent in BRIC countries.
Survey respondents came from organizations with 500 or more employees and an in-house data center in the United States; the United Kingdom; Germany; Australia; Brazil; Russia; India; China; and Japan. The survey was conducted between October and November of 2011.
Additional information from the survey is available in the Gartner report, User Survey Analysis: Impact of Mobile Devices on Network and Data Center Infrastructure, which is available here on the Gartner’s website.
Gartner analysts will examine the key issues facing building a mobile enterprise, cloud, and information technologies at the Gartner Catalyst Conference August 20 through 23 in San Diego. More information about the Gartner Catalyst Conference can be found here.