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BYOD – “Bring Your Own Device” – Now in Use by Most Companies, But Focus and Trust Present Major Challenges

Bring Your Own Device According to a survey conducted by IT interactive app company Spiceworks, adoption of cloud computing is expanding rapidly in the business world. From December 2013 to June 2014, the number of SMB’s (small to medium businesses) using this form of hosting is projected to rise from 60% to 66%. Companies using server virtualization (a vast portion of which is now based in the cloud) will increase proportionally from 72% to 80%. Internet infrastructure news site CircleID recently covered seven ongoing trends in this type of computing. Among them were the adoption of technologies and services such as hybrid models, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), big data analytics (incorporating predictive analytics and predictive modeling), and “bring your own device” policies. BYOD is a particularly compelling topic because, as John Grady of CircleID mentions, consumer electronics have shifted tremendously from PCs to mobile devices over the last few years. IT departments can benefit from the rise of mobile devices by integrating personal cloud services with any business apps based on the same approach. BYOD & MDM Business use of the new IT strategy typically falls under the umbrella of a secure environment incorporating personal cell phones and tablets, controlled by mobile device management (MDM) software. ITworld defines MDM as “the ability to secure, manage, monitor and support mobile devices.” MDM software is essentially an organized platform to streamline administration and enhance security of freer device access, including the following techniques:
  • ensures that all personal mobile systems used in the business’s network are only accessible with a password;
  • wireless use of applications, often with data stored in the cloud;
  • capability to delete all data on a phone or tablet in the case of theft.
Companies believe BYOD is now mandatory Dell Quest surveyed IT executives around the world for a report released in 2013. The research revealed that 7 out of every 10 companies have found that broader acceptance of cell phones and tablets benefits the efficiency of workflow and productivity, while 6 out of 10 feel that the applicable policies are necessary to stay competitive in the marketplace. Almost 1500 tech infrastructure directors from enterprises in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States (10 countries total) were surveyed. The survey focused on two different types of bring-your-own-device schemes, one that is centered on equipment (device-centric) and one that is centered on employees (user-centric). Dividing strategies into these two different approaches intended to reveal why some implementations are more successful than others. The approaches were based on survey responses to determine the centerpiece of the management strategy. Roger Bjork, a Dell executive behind the study, noted that the user-centric approach results in the highest degree of success, in the following forms:
  • less roadblocks encountered;
  • more gains in productivity;
  • development of a more streamlined environment; and
  • generation of a competitive edge.
Bjork specifically stressed the issue of competition regarding companies with a BYOD strategy that was device-centric or nonexistent. He argued that those organizations are exposing themselves to “the risk of being left behind from a competitive standpoint.” The Dell study found that bring-your-own-device is the most advantageous to companies that have been developing the policy over several years. Long-running programs were, in a sense, running on autopilot, with early adopters encountering less hurdles. In fact, 25% of companies with fully developed policies hadn’t experienced any systemic problems over the last year. User focus & other results of study Additional benefits of centering the policy on users include the following:
  • more reliable data administration;
  • stronger client satisfaction; and
  • enhanced security.
For those companies placing the emphasis on users rather than devices, 74% reported that implementation had generated higher productivity. Similarly, 70% of those organizations said that it has enabled their employees to respond faster to customer requests. The study garnered a general sense of the company’s perspective toward this approach – both general adoption and the user versus device philosophy – through a simple question of the purpose of “bring your own device.” 11% of respondents believed that broad accessibility to company systems is primarily a matter of employees wanting to be able to use their cell phones. Companies describing this strategy in that manner were significantly less likely to have adopted it as a policy. Meanwhile, one-third of those who answered the survey agreed with a more complex definition – that it’s not just about the desires of employees but “the degree to which organizations empower them to achieve maximum productivity.” The user-centric approach was strongest in Singapore, followed by the United Kingdom Australia, and France; it was the weakest in the United States. Although the US and China did not have high marks for the user-focused model, they did have great general support for the policy. Active encouragement of the concept was most prevalent in the United States, China, and Australia, while the lowest three countries for general promotion of “bring your own device” were France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. BYOD & the issue of trust Forbes reported in February on one element that is necessary for a successful bring-your-own-device policy: trust. As David Amerland suggests, the strategy should be a match made in heaven, bolstered by great timing, when we look at the three primary elements:
  • The climate – IT has been “consumerized.” In other words, personal devices are often more powerful than what a company would want to purchase on the behalf of employees;
  • The employee – Workforces are becoming more mobile, and employee shifts are becoming less strictly defined than the standard 9 to 5. Satisfaction of employees and loyalty to the employer are enhanced by greater access flexibility.
  • The business – The company itself can take advantage of reduced overhead (not having to purchase cell phones and tablets for employees), better attainment of targets, and higher all-around productivity.
In order to integrate trust into this IT model, an organization should ensure that its parameters are as transparent as possible. Trust can yield strong gains in productivity and becomes pivotal in an environment of persona convergence, in which personal and business data inevitably become intermingled. BYOD is on the rise, with 3 out of 5 IT decision-makers now considering it a critical component in the competitive business world. A policy that focuses on users rather than devices yields the best possible results. Companies enhance productivity and reduce costs by establishing a more open-access environment, based on trust and powered by the cloud.  

Tips for Corporate Cloud Adoption

Corporate Cloud Adoption

Adopting Cloud Solutions from the Couch to the Corporation

A couple of weeks back, Solar VPS President and COO Ross Brouse (@RossBrouse), gave a technical keynote presentation at New York City’s Cloud Expo. The presentation covered corporate Cloud adoption – how Cloud adoption begins on the couch and makes it all the way to the boardroom. Well, in this short article, we are going to run with that flag and dive into the topic a bit. So, if you’re a company of any size looking to fully Cloudize (word, not a word? We think it should be), err, make the jump into the Cloud, here are a few tips for successful Cloud computing adoption.

Understand the Difference

Before even considering a move into the Cloud, companies and non-IT minds need to understand the difference between the public Cloud and the private Cloud. Are you streaming music via Spotify right now? Are you looking at a friend’s Facebook status, tweeting to a person halfway across the world or downloading data from a shared Dropbox account? If so, you are using the public Cloud. The public Cloud, is as the name suggests, for public use. On the other hand, a private Cloud deployment is a Cloud deployed and maintained behind a private, closely guarded, corporate firewall. All the data stored in the private Cloud require corporate access keys and are housed behind a stringent firewall to ensure security.

When deploying a corporate Cloud, although some employees might use applications like Dropbox, and SugarSync to store less vital all information, the most sensitive data is stored, secured and kept behind your corporate firewall, in your corporate private Cloud only accessible using the right access keys.