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CIO Views

BYOD- GURUPRASAD MURTY

Many organizations have been following Bring Your Own (BYO) policy for car, smart phones, etc. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is similar to this but with the slight difference. In case of car, company provides the fund (on lease or hire-purchase) to an employee with clear guidelines on what is permissible under this scheme. They need to follow these guidelines during and after the purchase. If an employee leaves the organization before expiry of the agreement, then the employee need to purchase the car by making required payment.

In case of smart phones, company may or may not provide the funds but employee has an option to bring their own mobile (iPhone, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, etc.) and by connecting to corporate environment to read and respond to an email. The published company policies would definitely apply for these devices (which includes complete password management, remote device wipe-out, tools which can be installed on the device, etc.). BYO for Device (BYOD) is similar to the BYO for smart phone except the following differences:

  1. Rules of purchase and support thereafter
  2. Software licensing
  3. Access mechanism for accessing corporate infrastructure
  4. Security consideration
  5. Backup of data in the Device
  6. Redundancy in case employee Device is not working, stolen or lost – backup Device need be made available at a very short notice
  7. Initial investment organization need to make for all back-end infrastructure


BYOD is fast growing phenomenon and I don't think any organization can ignore it. It is a nightmare for IT and at the same time, it is delight for users.

There can be multiple benefits to allow users to BYOD. First and foremost benefit for any organization is reduction in CAPEX. Also organization doesn't have to worry about the hardware refresh cycle every couple of years as any new purchase is users decision now. With BYOD, organization can look at flexible seating which in turn will reduce facility related expenses. There are numerous benefits which organization can derive out of BYOD.

BYOD can reduce IT hardware and support costs, provided certain processes and rules are followed including permissible devices, repair, support policies, otherwise there will be chaos, which neither organization or users wants.

The major concerns while allowing BYOD to the users could be:

  1. Security of data
  2. Access mechanism
  3. Loss or theft of devices and related issues due to this
  4. Software licensing

Implementation of BYOD will bring in worker satisfaction. It is no more IT which dictates the infra at users hand. Users have freedom and choice to bring their own device. With younger and new generation coming to workforce and their ease of operating new devices, BYOD will be a major attraction for attracting and retaining employees.

Any change has its own challenges and we have to be always ready for changes and challenges. Security, data protection, etc. are the challenges which have been already addressed with other similar changes and IT has been evolving to address newer changes and challenges associated with BYOD.

'If we can't control, we won't support' is a completely wrong approach and attitude. This is the time IT need to step up and take the challenge which will not only change the perception of IT but will bring IT forefront. With right approach, implementation of proper process and meticulous follow-up, there is no any organization will lose anything. IT need to get this out their mind of losing control because of BYOD. It is just a mechanism to access enterprise information while remaining infrastructure like middleware, back-end, etc. is still managed by IT. There is nothing like losing the control. The objective of IT should be providing right information at the right time and should not focus too much on control, which is detrimental for the success of its initiative.

We have already implemented BYOD policy. CIO's role has always been to support new initiative which will bring operational efficiency in the organization. BYOD is another initiative towards this same objective. As CIO's has embraced virtualization, they will embrace BYOD too. BYOD has already made inroads into many organizations. Within this year, I see more and more people and organizations following this trend.

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