Many companies are examining the possibility of switching to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a method of significantly reducing their IT infrastructure capital costs. Arguments in favor of this risky practice extol the productivity enhancements of allowing individuals to perform tasks for their company on devices with which they are comfortable and familiar with operating. These proponents argue that the time it takes for a new hire to become familiar with a standard laptop or tablet configuration provided by the company results in non-productive time.
Here is but another example of how short-term versus strategic thinking is creating havoc in American business. The dangers associated with BYOD far outweigh the short-term benefits. Convenience and a perception of cost reductions appear to again be trumping sound security practices.
Very few, if any, early BYOD adopters have invested in the highly sophisticated software, IT systems, controls and methodologies to effectively and safely transition to a BYOD environment. Early adopters of a BYOD strategy face dramatic levels of risk that most are unprepared for and potentially incapable of managing. The complexity of developing the nearly unlimited variety of hardware and configurations that exist in the market is challenging enough. Coupling those complexities with developing a methodology to maintain current software updates on systems owned and maintained by the BYOD owner creates monumental risks to this type of uncontrolled virtual network.
Anyone considering BYOD as a solution should remember the old saying “If it appears to be too good to be true, it more than likely is.” In the long run, a BYOD strategy dramatically increases risk and more than likely will ultimately cost significantly more than it saves. Saving a few dollars up front, through jumping into a BYOD strategy, will more than likely result in massive expenditures necessary to deal with data breaches, loss of crown jewel technology, and significant long-term damage to the organization’s reputation and brand.