Worldwide enterprises have been impacted by the bring-your-own-device trend. Of course, Apple’s new devices are not the only cause, but the company has definitely contributed substantially to the phenomenon. When a new device is about to be launched, more people want to give up their corporate devices and switch to an updated and “cool” personal device. This trend is expected to continue following this week’s launch of the iPhone 5, which followed the recent release of the Windows Phone 8 and other devices with the Android operating system.
“BYOD may have been initially driven by the iPhone, as individuals who used this revolutionary and powerful device saw the potential benefits of using it at work, but it is now about more than just one type of device,” said Richard Absalom, analyst for consumer impact technology at Ovum. “The iPhone 5 will be successful, and the more people who own one, the more people will want to bring it into the workplace.”
During the iPhone 5 launch event, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that 400 million iOS devices were sold by the end of June. He also noted that the iPad has a 68% share of the tablet market and accounted for 91% of all tablet Web traffic. Cook said that almost all of the Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPads, and they are investing in custom apps.
“By driving substantial consumer use of Apple technology products, Apple continues to penetrate the enterprise, pushing forward trends like BYOD and the consumerization of IT,” said Jon Wallace, director of emerging technology & cloud strategy at AppSense. “As a result, organizations will have no choice but to learn how to manage a variety of environments that are both diverse and mixed.”
However, BYOD is certainly not only about Apple’s iPhone. “Android devices are more prevalent in the consumer market, and we see more of them being allowed into enterprises, either through BYOD or businesses provisioning them to employees,” said Ovum’s Absalom.
As more employees bring their devices to the office, more questions are raised about security and mobile device management. Observers tend to point out that Android is less secure, while Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platform is the most secure. “Each iteration of Android is becoming more secure, but its problem is fragmentation (there are too many people using older, insecure versions) and the prevalence of malware on the Google Play store,”said Absalom. “iOS is probably second in terms of security, behind BlackBerry, while Windows Phone 8 is still a bit of an unknown quantity.”
However, these devices strengthen the need for IT departments to determine their “bring your own” strategy. “IT should expect to see users of these new devices walking into the office the day they have them in hand to have them turned into productivity devices,” said Natalie Lambert, director of product marketing at Citrix. “If IT hasn’t created policies around their use yet, they will be in for a world of pain. When creating a BYO/mobility strategy, IT should keep in mind what they are trying to enable and what they are trying to protect, such as enabling productivity and protecting data.”
Regarding the future of BYOD, Lambert believes there will be a time when the mobile device is like the corporate car. “Businesses used to provide cars for employees to get to work,” Lambert said. “They stopped when they realized users had their own cars that were chosen based on personal preferences. In the end, the personal car still got the employee to work safely.”
Apple’s recent releases are a continuation of the trend whereby Apple primarily targets devices at consumers rather than enterprises. “There are one or two features of iOS 6 that will make it easier in terms of MDM and enterprise mobility management,” pointed out Ovum analyst Absalom.
“Apple automates for a level of security and shields the device owner from the configuration and hardening necessary on other platforms,” said Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist at Citrix. “Apple iOS plus Mobile Application Management (MAM) is rapidly becoming the way to granularly manage app and data security on both enterprise and BYO devices.”
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