Getting the better of the BYOD headache

Sean Farrington
UK MD at QlikTech
QlikTech
Blogger
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Smartphones, tablets and other devices are undeniably gaining more ground in the workplace. Research from BI Intelligence, the research arm of Business Insider, shows that tablet sales are going to hit 500 million by 2015, meaning a shift away from traditional desktop and PC work stations is becoming more likely. With many workers expecting to be granted access to company data on their personal devices without issue, CIOs needn't let BYOD become a headache for their organisation.

The consumerisation of IT trend is one that organisations are encouraging, with research we conducted showing more than 90% of people believe mobile technology is not only useful but, in fact crucial to their business. Furthermore, the vast majority (70%) agreed that the movement should be supported by making a greater range of business-related apps available and easy to use on mobile platforms. So used to using sophisticated mobile applications and devices in our home lives, we're starting to demand this be replicated in our working lives too. This is not only for improved mobility, but also because the technology we have at home is generally more intuitive, and has better functionality than devices supplied by employers.

However, what this new breed of consumer employees doesn’t realise is that, in many cases, this is putting a greater onus on the IT department. Not only are they tasked with having to find a way to get the device connected to the network, but they also have to ensure there is enough capacity available to handle the devices and ensure that all access is secure. As soon as an employee downloads data onto their own device, an organisation is at risk of confidential and sensitive data being lost as the employee may misplace the device or leave the company, taking valuable information with them. After all, many a business is only as strong as the information it stores.

So, how to make life easier for the IT department just when everything is becoming more complex? Implementing browser-based tools where possible is the way forward in making their lives easier. For starters, deploying browser-based solutions across an entire company is simple and fast, all anyone needs is access to a browser no matter whether they are using their PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile, all information is stored in-memory, so is kept off the device when not connected, which minimises the risk of a leak.

We're constantly hearing that employees want greater access to business tools and information, and, if they can harness this data properly, then the company will benefit from listening to more voices. We too often hear the terms big data or data overload, but giving employees the ability to drill down into the masses of information that are available shouldn't daunt them. Allowing employees access to data via their own devices should therefore be encouraged. Then they can work together to discover things about their organisation that they would never have thought possible before, and for the business to reduce risks, wastage, and perhaps even uncover a new business opportunity or market niche.

Yet, if these tools are to be successfully accessed and supported, it is crucial that businesses get the right balance between putting a massive onus on the IT department and giving employees the flexibility to use their own devices whenever they wish. There are browser-based tools available that can be connected to easily from any device, without causing the IT department a massive headache when a mass of employees show up with their new gadgets.

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