Andrew SmithAndrew Smith

There are various considerations to take into account

What is it about the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) business model that is causing such interest in the industry?

Kaseya’s sales engineer, , points out the differences between the standardisation and BYOD models, and what should be considered for each.

“We’ve been seeing many organisations moving to a BYOD model,” says Smith. “And this is largely influenced by the ‘Facebook generation’ who have been quietly bringing their personal devices into the office.”

This is in contrast to the more traditional standardisation model, where companies issue a device to the user, which has been modified according to company standards and is subject to various stringent policies.

“There is currently a trend towards using personal IT equipment in the corporate environment,” he says. “This equipment refers to all kinds of devices, from smartphones to tablets to laptops.”

According to Smith, companies have started to recognise the need to embrace this momentum and jump on to the bandwagon, rather than fight it.

One of the challenges companies will face is that it is more difficult to get these types of users to adhere to the standards and norms typically seen when IT standardisation is implemented, says Smith. “Furthermore, predictability of cost will be more difficult as hardware and software standards are no longer tightly controlled.

“With the BYOD model, we are also seeing instances where companies will contribute a certain amount towards a device for a user.” In this case, the user contributes an additional amount to receive a higher-value and higher-end device.

Certain conditions still need to be included with this model, however, such as a maintenance contract. “In this instance, companies can benefit from decreased device management cost, ie, the procurement and provisioning of devices decrease.”

Users benefit from this model as they no longer have to have a second device for personal use, says Smith, and companies benefit in this case, as studies have shown users are more willing to work after hours. “However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed,” he says.

“Data protection remains critical and companies need to ensure that devices are adequately protected,” Smith explains. “It goes without saying that the standardisation model makes device protection much easier to control.”

When it comes to IT support, there are further challenges that need to be considered. “With the potential of there being many different operating systems and hardware vendors, IT may have to widen their skills,” says Smith.

When it comes to purchasing power, companies implementing standardisation would traditionally benefit from lower costs due to bulk purchasing of hardware or software. “With BYOD, this is no longer the case,” says Smith.

Given the benefi ts and challenges that exist with both the standardisation and BYOD models, how does a company decide which route is best to take?

Smith suggests companies consider a hybrid model. “Provide a catalogue to users from which they can choose a device. This will allow more control than the traditional BYOD model. The catalogue must include high-value devices that users can choose from and will contribute towards,” Smith says. “However, make sure policies are in place and clearly defined.”

Furthermore, communication is key, both externally and internally. “Internally, by distributing your IT policies, and externally, by making this model known to the market, as it will be appealing to a lot of potential employees,” says Smith.

Make the service desk more efficient and flexible, says Smith. “In order to cater for the heterogeneous environment, the service desk needs to have adequate skills and manpower. A systems management tool that can cater for this should also be considered.”

Smith also suggests that architecture changes are considered. “Companies should consider adopting cloud services so that devices are not dependent on software. Virtual applications should also be contemplated, so that devices can be used in real-time and information can be removed when not in use. This will make data protection less of a problem.”

Lastly, Smith stresses the importance of running a pilot prior to committing to any new device model. “If you are considering changing over to a new device model, perform a pilot to test the concept within your own organisation. Choose a handful of users on which to trial the new model to see whether it is compatible with the organisation and whether it satisfi es company needs as expected.”