Companies wishing to save on operating costs for mobile services now have the option to implement a bring your own device (BYOD) policy for employees. While there is some debate about the best way to implement and manage a BYOD network, the facts bear out that the trend of employees using their own devices is here to stay. This article will examine the unique challenges and opportunities inherent to managing a constantly changing, fragmented network.
BYOD: Issues in network management.
The most obvious and most outstanding issue in BYOD networks is developing a protocol for managing a network that is filled with different devices, operating systems and applications. For example, none of the three major consumer smart-phone operating systems, Google's Android OS, Apple's iOS, and Microsoft's Windows Mobile have ever had the enterprise penetration of Research In Motions former business stalwart Blackberry operating system. However, with RIM”s lagging sales, these major consumer systems will make up the bulk of the machines on any BYOD network. Each of these systems have their own protocols and third-party applications to increase productivity. Network administrators now have to find tools to manage multiple devices and security permissions without limiting employees ability to be effective in the field. But in the rush to secure the wilds of a BYOD system, business may be missing out on something important.
BYOD can offer several innovative ways to improve your business.
The various mobile platforms all allow users to customize their devices through the use of third-party applications that provide extended functionality. Instead of focusing on the fragmentation that results from a BYOD network, an enterprise with a well-run network and a forward-thinking approach can use the variety inherent to BYOD networks to their advantage. The almost open-source approach to work flow that results from a multi-device network can be shaped and molded to create new ways of doing business. Consumer devices of today far outstrip the power and functionality of enterprise devices of just three years ago. In addition, the aforementioned third-party applications regularly produce innovative solutions to a wide variety of issues, and are regularly updated to more powerful and functional version. In short, the infrastructure of the consumer mobile device market functions as an extensive R&D department for both business and private users. As it stands, the technology that is available is simply stunning; all that's needed is a business to recognize just how much the technology can completely alter the way business can be done. It cannot be overstated: the competition in the consumer mobile computing marketplace not only changes the efficiency and speed of business, it also has the potential to completely revolutionize how business is done.
No Matter Your Approach to BYOD, A Strong Policy is Needed.
Whether your company chooses to focus on simply managing your BYOD network or decides to embrace more innovative approaches to business through the use of the plethora of resources in the mobile marketplace, a strong internal policy needs to be in place to protect your network. Take the time to explore exactly what approach your company will take and then craft a policy that will solidify your BYOD network.
Coming in Part 3: We examine the slow death of RIM.