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The BYOD problem is what?

By Mike Rothman

Now that's a novel attitude...In the immortal words of Jay-Z, you’ve got 99 problems but BYOD ain’t one of them. Colin Steele does a good job of putting the BYOD (and broader mobility) situation in proper context in You can’t solve BYOD because it’s not a problem

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive a press release or read a news article about some new product or other that “solves BYOD.” Vendors and customers that look at BYOD as a problem to solve, and not an opportunity to take advantage of, are missing the point.

There is a lot of truth in that statement. It’s a technology version of “Vendors are from Mars, Customers are from Venus.” Customers want to bitch and vent about things, so vendors think that means they need to solve the problem. Mobility is something all organizations need to deal with, but it’s not something you can ‘fix’ by installing an agent or bolting an appliance into a rack.

BYOD is disruptive. It brings challenges. It takes control out of IT’s hands. But these issues are simply the natural fallout from IT’s inability to keep up with users’ technology needs. That is the problem that needs to be solved.

Let me highlight the money quote there. “…the natural fallout from IT’s inability to keep up with users’ technology needs.” Yup. But security folks know how this movie ends much better than most other technology disciplines. Employees do what they feel they need to do, whether you like it or not. They will get around your controls. They will skirt your policies. And they will get their jobs done.

Of course we don’t advocate a wild west, “do whatever the hell you want,” approach. But it is essential to place mobility in its proper context, which means an acceptance that it is happening. So get on board and work collaboratively with the right folks to apply some reasonable control. Or get run over…

Photo credit: “No problems” originally uploaded by Gamma Man

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Comments

Mike, well put. As a Symantec employee, I’ve been advocating that BYOD is an opportunity for a while now. That’s not to say that BYOD doesn’t create a few challenges for IT, but it is most definitely an opportunity to improve business. And as you said, employees are doing it whether IT likes it or not, so at least by acknowledging the opportunity BYOD creates they can jump out ahead and make sure it is happening on their terms.

Regards
Swarna.

By Swarna


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