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FAQ: What IT needs to know about the BYOx movement

Employees want their BYOD -- and BYOA, BYOC and BYON. Organizations may be willing to embrace the BYOx movement, but IT may not. Get answers to your burning BYOx questions.

The BYOD movement shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Many organizations have fully embraced the BYOx life, allowing employees to use even more of their own technology to get work done.

Organizations that get on board with BYOx -- which means "bring your own everything," from devices to networks to applications -- should understand how it shifts the IT-employee dynamic. Start by answering the following questions.

What will BYOD policies cost?

To reap the long-term cost benefits of adopting a BYOD policy, it is essential for organizations to ensure they have an effective cost management policy in place.

Welcoming the BYOx trend doesn't necessarily mean bringing down costs for the company, though. The costs associated with corporate-owned devices may be higher than BYOD but at least the company tech budget is fixed, allowing administrators to easily monitor device costs and data usage costs. With personal devices, it can become tedious for admins to differentiate between costs incurred for business purposes and those for personal. Having a monthly reimbursement allowance is an option organizations can consider to make sure there is effective cost-sharing between the employer and its employees.

How can IT deal with BYOA and BYOC security risks?

Two offshoots of BYOD -- bring your own application (BYOA) and bring your own cloud (BYOC), i.e., using personal apps and cloud services for work -- are popular with employees due to convenience and ease of use. Ideally, everyone wants to be able to access the information they need anytime, anywhere.

But allowing employees to use personal apps and cloud services for work opens organizations up to security risks. If all employees are using their own set of tools to collaborate on their work, oftentimes chaos ensues. IT is tasked with tracking the information they share and access across various devices. And if IT doesn't know about the outside apps users are bringing into the company, they will have a hard time securing these apps and the corporate information being shared on them.

Do I need a BYOD policy?

Any organization considering adopting BYOD over company-owned devices must assess all risks. Having acceptable use and security policies in place is crucial before diving in. It is IT admins' responsibility to formulate and implement a robust policy and ensure that users understand what is required of them. Training may be appropriate, along with regular reminders to adhere to company policy. No matter what, users must understand when, where and how certain activities may put sensitive company data at risk and agree to avoid doing so at all costs.

BYOD requires a mobility governance team

A governance team can ensure BYOD best practices.

Another risk comes into play when an employee leaves the company and IT has no knowledge of whether or not the data and apps on the employee's device containing company data have been removed. To avoid such unpredictability, IT can introduce an enterprise app store and even enforce certain mobile device management policies on the devices used by the employees.

Does BYOx usurp IT's control?

Some IT admins may think that letting employees bring their own devices and use their own networks takes some of the burdens off of their IT departments, but IT's role does not diminish with the rise of BYOx culture.

IT's role does not diminish with the rise of BYOx culture.

With BYOC and bring your own network (BYON), in which employees use noncorporate networks to access work data, the security risks and "things to watch out for" for IT are amplified. BYOA also makes it significantly difficult for IT to keep track of unauthorized apps that employees may be downloading to do their work. Some IT admins may think they can get away with a hands-off approach, but they shouldn't let users become their own IT managers. They also still need to monitor which apps employees are using to access corporate data.

What are some BYOD benefits?

Organizations that adopt certain aspects of the BYOx trend, such as BYOA and BYOC, may see increased innovation and productivity. Employees that can access their own tools from their own clouds are better able to work on the go, and letting them use their own personal cloud services and apps can save organizations time and money.

To get maximum benefits out of a BYOx policy, it is important to understand your company's size and capacity to manage various employee-owned endpoints and recognize the associated costs with doing so.

Instead of just blindly following a trend, it is important to weigh the BYOD pros and cons, and organizations should consider the IT department's point of view while doing it. Once IT is assured of how personal networks, devices and apps will interact with enterprise data, it will be easier to jump on the BYOx bandwagon and benefit from BYOA, BYOC and BYOD advantages.

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