I studied engineering at university, so I always like to define and analyze things. I think I’ll stay true to form for my first blogging idol post on BYOD…..
Just how do you define BYOD, anyways? Apparently, there are three parts to consider:
B = Bring YO = Your Own D = Device Working backwards…..
“Device” is pretty general and not very limiting. It could cover pretty much everything from a basic phone to a camera, although I suppose people usually think of a smartphone first. Ooops, these devices can be cameras, dictating machines, scanners, geo-locators, pedometers, journals, radios, TVs, and so on. We don’t usually think of a desktop PC as a BYOD-compliant device, however.
“Your Own” should be pretty obvious – it belongs to you, or at least the hardware does. But what about the applications and the data? Especially the data – you don’t want to mix personal data with company data! If you are travelling in the USA, can they seize the data stored in your “Device” under the Patriot Act? The device ideally needs to be virtualized to keep things in separate partitions. What about special devices, such as the little devices that couriers use to get your signature – you would never want to own one of those, would you? What happens if you don’t want to add business apps to your personal phone – can BYOD be made into a condition of employment?
“Bring” would suggest the ability to move the device easily and use it wherever you are. I can just imagine trying to use a desktop PC in your car. Taking that a step further, if you are using a business app on your smartphone in your car, and you have an accident, is that a workplace accident? Does BYOD make your office be anywhere, anytime?
A few more complications:
- If the company wants to back up the device (to a cloud?) then should it only be the business part of the device or all of it?
- If the company wants to upgrade the operating system, but there are personal apps that break, who is responsible for fixing them?
- How do you divide the network costs between business and personal use? Or should the person or company pay for everything?
- If you have a home office and you “bring” your desktop MAC to it, isn’t that BYOD too?
- If you are a BYOD user, can you “turn off” the company part when you are on personal time?
I’m sure there are many more things to consider. What I conclude, however, is that the life of an “IT guy” is not simple. You need to try to answer a lot of questions in addition to simply deciding which brands of device are acceptable on the corporate network.