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Enterprise BYOD management: An IT guide


IT departments everywhere have to deal with the bring-your-own-device trend, but the jury is still out on whether BYOD is a blessing or a curse.

On one hand, enterprise BYOD can bring with it some persuasive benefits, such as increases in employee productivity and engagement. But, on the other hand, enterprise BYOD management is tough. And there's a host of gotchas that range from big deals -- security vulnerabilities and network bandwidth strain -- to little headaches waiting to happen. To add insult to injury, BYOD might not even save your company any money in some cases.

Before you make your judgment on whether enterprise BYOD is a good thing or not, check out the compelling reasons why some people love it, the potential downfalls and ways to combat them.

1It's all about productivity-

Enterprise BYOD benefits

Motivations to adopt BYOD go deeper than just "everyone is doing it." Some of the most convincing reasons that companies choose to allow BYOD -- or full-on embrace it -- are that BYOD can save money and it helps companies evolve with the landscape of IT. And BYOD improves employee satisfaction.

But the reason to adopt enterprise BYOD that keeps rising to the top is that it makes employees more productive. By its nature, BYOD encourages workers to use devices that they like, so naturally they're inclined to use them more often. Plus, the devices that workers have are totally mobile, so whether an employee is taking notes in a meeting, reviewing documents on the train ride home or getting prepped for the next day's agenda while watching the nightly news, he's putting in more hours and getting more done.


It's an opportunity for IT evolution

The BYOD movement is a chance for IT to make a change, and admins haven't had that chance since the Internet boom of the '90s. BYOD is about more than enabling devices. It's about looking to the future of the IT landscape. Continue Reading


BYOD gives companies a future advantage

BYOD helps companies embrace a more cloud-centric approach to IT, and it can help improve employee mobility. As IT changes, companies that have already gone mobile and embraced BYOD (and other facets of consumerization) have a better chance of staying ahead of the game. Continue Reading


Cost savings can be one of BYOD's pros

Employees who use their own devices for work can save companies money, and not just on devices. Because employees are more familiar with consumer devices, they need less training on how to use their gadgets and IT can do a little less enterprise BYOD management. Plus, people often download third-party apps for personal use, then also use those apps to do their jobs, which means their employers don't need to pay for them. Continue Reading


Embracing IT consumerization makes employees happy

When people get to use the devices they want to complete their tasks, it makes work easier, and that makes workers happy. Citrix has a completely BYOD model and one exec said that the biggest benefit of the program was that it improved employee satisfaction. Continue Reading


Mix technology trends and improve security

Departments that have virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and use it to give users access to virtual desktops say that VDI is more secure than the physical devices. Deploying desktops to mobile devices also lets users connect from anywhere. Continue Reading

2Watch out for gotchas-

BYOD challenges

There are some compelling reasons to take up BYOD, but enterprise BYOD management can be a nightmare. BYOD makes managing bandwidth and content harder. Even though employees are more familiar with the devices, they often still need help from the help desk staff to gain access to enterprise networks and when devices break or malfunction. And it makes securing all the different devices and operating systems almost impossible. Other issues that come with BYOD and are headaches in their own right: printing, licensing, legal and more.

Above all else, however, is the fact that enterprise BYOD might not even save companies money in the long run. Depending on how cost-sharing is handled, organizations may still end up footing some part of the bill, whether it's for devices, data plans, telecom expense management systems or man hours to keep track of it all.


BYOD strains wireless network bandwidth

Because there is an influx of devices accessing the same network, BYOD causes trouble for wireless bandwidth. In some companies, the only solution is adding capacity, and that can be a costly undertaking. Continue Reading


Mobile printing is tough

Mobile devices and printers don't always play nice. Some workarounds make mobile printing possible, but still it's certainly not easy. Until Apple, Google and Microsoft up their games, solving the problem of printing is just an ongoing and headache-inducing part of enterprise BYOD management. Continue Reading


BYOD complicates content management

New devices mean new ways to access content, but when employees are working from different OSes and applications, IT has to worry about supporting them all without losing documents in the shuffle. Continue Reading


Licensing compliance issues are (still) a pain

The Microsoft licensing terms that your company agreed to probably don't include employees' mobile devices and personal cloud service use, so it's your responsibility to keep track of what users are doing to avoid licensing compliance conundrums. Continue Reading


BYOD raises privacy, legal issues

Some states have privacy laws that can affect how you manage users' devices. And depending on what workers are up to, management and the legal department might be better off not knowing. What do you do if you find evidence that a user is up to something unlawful? Continue Reading


BYOD costs can pop up unexpectedly

After you add up the costs of paying for employee data plans, which includes roaming in many companies, buying a mobile device management system, and allocating help desk resources to support mobile devices, enterprise BYOD might be more of a money pit than a money saver in some organizations. Continue Reading


Security is a big BYOD challenge

When you take into account all the ways a mobile device can be compromised -- it gets lost or stolen, the owner downloads a malware-laden app, and more -- it becomes clear that securing employees' devices is a big part of enterprise BYOD management. Continue Reading

3What's next?-

Combatting enterprise BYOD management woes

It may look like there are a lot of places you can get caught in BYOD's crosshairs, but there are solutions to most of the challenges that BYOD brings. In environments that already have virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), there are built-in ways to address BYOD, such as application and desktop streaming that keep information in the data center to help with mobile device security. Finding a fair cost-sharing plan can put concerns about BYOD's financial effects to rest. Last but not least, writing up a BYOD policy can really help companies get back some control over enterprise BYOD programs.


Figure out the BYOD cost challenge: Who pays for what?

Lots of cost-sharing strategies exist that will ease enterprise BYOD management. For example, companies can offer to pay for devices and the business portion of the data plan workers use, but IT will need to have a way to handle expense management. Continue Reading


Enterprise mobility management tools are your friends

Mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) are a BYOD administrator's best friends. You can use MDM to perform remote wipe and control device configuration, while MAM lets you push -- or block, or wipe -- applications to or from devices. Continue Reading


Use VDI and application streaming to help with BYOD security

VDI and app streaming can help beef up security because desktops run on servers, rather than on devices. Remember, however, that you'll still need client components so you can connect to the servers. Continue Reading


Write policies to minimize BYOD security risks

One of the best things you can do to ease enterprise BYOD management is to write up a BYOD policy. You can pass the policy on to users and then they'll all know what they can and can't do with their devices on your network. Continue Reading


Using acceptable use policies to control applications

Once you have those policies in place and users know what's expected of them, use tools such as blacklisting and whitelisting to control which applications users can and can't access. Other ways to enforce app control include MDM, MAM or an enterprise app store. Continue Reading

4Show off what you learned-

BYOD pop quiz

Now that you know all the benefits and advantages of BYOD, take our quiz and get even more resources about the bring-your-own-device movement.

Take This Quiz

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