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More and more employees – and employers – wanting to embrace BYOD schemes
May 30, 2012
The bring-your-own device (BYOD) movement is gaining momentum in organisations around the world, as business managers realise the financial and performance gains to be had by empowering employees to buy and maintain their own work computers.
Late last year, Michael Chanter of Frontline Systems Australia predicted that the BYOD phenomenon would drive more IT change in the next 10 years than any other IT trend. His prediction seems to be spot on.
A recent study conducted by Vanson Bourne in the UK found that 73 per cent of IT professionals believe that desktop virtualisation offers greater flexibility and agility for the workforce. Moreover, 78 per cent believe that BYOD will deliver reduced IT and/or business operational costs.
In this same survey, nine out of 10 CIOs said they knew they needed to put a BYOD policy in place – pointing to the inevitability of the movement.
Yet what are the implications of BYOD for the people responsible for managing software licenses and updating software on these devices? What role should HR and legal take in implementing the program? And where will the future of BYOD take us?
How BYOD is being used now
First, a quick re-cap on the BYOD phenomenon. Moving away from the “lock-down” days when IT had complete control over every device within the enterprise IT ecosystem, many companies now see the value in giving employees more choice about what technology they use and bring to the workplace.
Via a desktop virtualisation solution, these employees can now securely and reliably access their business desktop applications from anywhere, anytime – a clear boost to productivity and enhanced business output and performance.
A great case in point is Citrix. Sure, this is a global technology company that has pioneered many of the desktop software virtualisation technologies that are driving today’s corporate BYOD strategies – think XenDesktop, XenApps, ShareFile and GoToMeeting. So they certainly know what they’re doing in this space. But, like any enterprise, they face the same challenges when it comes to trialing new IT tools and services within their business.
About four years ago, Citrix launched its own BYOC program (where ‘C’ stood for computer) worldwide, encouraging employees to bring their laptop of choice into the workplace. Now, with 1,300 employees using their BYOC scheme around the world, the company has hit its target of achieving a 20 per cent reduction in IT capex and opex costs – mainly due to a fall in hardware acquisition, hardware support costs, desktop support requests and incident reports.
As an employee incentive to sign up with the scheme, Citrix gives its employees a stipend of US$2,100 towards buying their choice of personal laptop. Then, employees must install and maintain antivirus security software (provided by Citrix) and buy a three-year hardware support agreement. They then install Citrix Receiver and they are good to go.
With the recent proliferation of tablet and smartphone devices, Citrix has found that employees are using the available virtualisation technologies to make broader use of consumer based devices in the workplace, which Citrix encourages.
The Citrix scheme is just one of many being introduced by organisations across the globe keen to cut costs and respond to employee demands for greater choice and flexibility.
Take our poll – If you worked for Citrix or another company with a BYOD program, would you want to participate in it?
Implications of BYOD for IT managers
As more and more enterprises embrace BYOD schemes, it pays to examine what it means for the people responsible for the IT ecosystem – in particular, those responsible for managing software licenses and updating software. How does BYOD affect the network managers, software asset managers and security managers?
For network managers, the answer to this question largely depends on how a company’s network configuration is set up. The main concerns are around intrusion protection protocols and ensuring the devices don’t compromise existing networks’ established security defences. As more companies move from private networks to public internet-based networks, this will become a moot point.
For software asset managers, life becomes easier with BYOD schemes. If software is delivered via virtualisation technology, then everything is controlled centrally anyway. The same applies for software updates and patches – any applications delivered centrally can still be managed by the IT organisation.
Finally, for security managers, as long as there is a clear picture of the BYOD client endpoints coming onto the network – and a thorough risk assessment is conducted prior to a BYOD scheme being introduced – then it should not pose any additional technical nor business risks to the organisation.
“In fact, what many security managers find is that BYO devices are always completely up-to-date with patches and upgrades – because employees look after their own equipment better than they would their corporate laptop,” said Stuart Driver, Director, WW Regional IT Operations, Citrix.
The future of BYOD
Any organisation thinking about starting a BYOD scheme needs to build a policy around it. “Get HR and legal involved early, to ensure you’re not introducing risk or compromising network or information security; and answer simple questions around issues like who pays, and the virtualisation strategy,” said Driver.
“BYOD is going to be huge. Kids are already bringing their own laptops and tablets into schools – so they will expect the same of their future workplaces. We will soon see the phrase BYOD move out of the press as it will simply be seen as the norm.”
> Take our poll – If you worked for Citrix or another company with a BYOD program, would you want to participate in it?
We will publish the results in the next edition of Insideline.
How Frontline can help
For 12 months now, Frontline has helped clients plan for and implement BYOD schemes. Our role-based assessment models analyse the best approach to technically implement BYOD schemes, and we apply deep knowledge about policy development and implementation – tailored for the individual client – to ensure BYOD success.
To learn more about BYOD and the potential gains for your business:
> Call Frontline on 1300 890 991
> Request a meeting with Frontline today
> Register your interest to attend the “BYOD and Mobile Workstyle – Anytime, Anywhere. Anyhow, Any Device” event (NSW, VIC and SA)
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