BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – was an incipient trend in 2014, but it’s expected to fully breach the mainstream in the year ahead as enterprises learn how to make the most of it.
BYOD Teething Troubles
BYOD faced some troubles starting out. The trend comes with some privacy concerns, since workers naturally tend to take their own devices home with them and connect them to non-work-approved networks. There was even a major lawsuit in California that, by ruling that company workers for the ri use of their own devices, seemed to presage the end of the BYOD trend. What really happened was that the trend went from strength to strength as other technologies and techniques caught up with it. 2015 looks set to be the year when it enters the mainstream for good.
BYOD makes sense in a world where enterprises are decentralising everything from IT to workforces. An increasing number of white collar workers – just the people most likely to bring their own tablet into work – are independent contractors rather than employees. They’ll take their own devices with them from gig to gig, allowing companies to hire workers and working equipment at the same time rather than acquiring hardware.
As data increasingly moves onto the cloud, public, private or hybrid, the privacy concerns over BYOD become less prominent. BYOD is a natural fit for cloud. And when everything from data to unified communications, calendaring to email, is cloud-based, the importance of the device used to access it recedes. Privacy concerns about sensitive company data stored on someone’s iPhone also recede, for the same reason.
While companies figure out what to do about BYOD, it’s already happening. Many companies have adopted a ‘if they want to, let them’ attitude to worker-led BYOD adoption. The longer an ‘unofficial BYOD’ policy persists, the more likely a data breach is, but by the time it comes, it’s going to be almost impossible to get rid of BYOD.
Hybridization and Split Billing
Many companies are going to wind up with mixed BYOD/CYOD policies. Senior staff will be using BYOD while lower-level employees will be on a more secure CYOD setup. Data accessible to both via the cloud will mean the main division will be between high-ranking salespeople and C-level staff, and the rest of the company.
BYOD is so underreported that the chances are that it’s not just coming, but really is already here. And this year, it’s going to take over.