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A Fresh Look at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part blog examining the evolving nature of enterprise mobility and how recent advances are prompting enterprises and end users to consider complements or alternatives to BYOD. While Part I explored the topic from an IT perspective, Part II considers how the evolution of enterprise mobility is impacting end users.  


BYOD is largely a behavior-driven trend.  It came about when end-users were driven to utilize their own devices for work due to limitations on the personal use capabilities of corporate-issued devices, as well as privacy concerns. Those users who found corporate-issued smartphones or tablets satisfactory for their “off-duty” communications needs were often turned off by fear that personal information, such as photos and private email accounts, could be deleted or perused by the IT department or other entities within the organization.

For employees, especially those wanting a single device for work and personal activities, BYOD made great sense – even if it meant footing the bill for the smartphone and the accompanying service. But those conditions are so 2009! The modern day office worker is now met with a set of mobility options and conditions that are completely different from those faced by his or her counterpart of just a few years ago.

For starters, technology advances in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space, specifically containerization, has largely solved employees’ privacy and data loss issues. Though not all EMMs are created equal, many offer application management capabilities that make it possible for IT to oversee (and wipe, if necessary) only work-related data, leaving the employee with complete reign over the remainder of the device. The BlackBerry Balance containerization solution has been recognized by industry analysts as offering market-leading work/personal management capabilities.

Enterprise IT departments have leveraged these capabilities to expand the flexibility of their device management policies, applying containerization and other modern EMM approaches to include personal communications and computing activities on corporate issued devices. (See the whitepaper Making the Case for COPE for a detailed discussion of corporate mobile device policies.) Despite the lingering and dated association of corporate-owned smartphones and tablets with business-only device policies, enterprises are now able to support a broad range of policies that span the entire lockdown-to-BYOD spectrum.

In fact, device ownership has largely been eliminated as a functional consideration. Corporate-owned policies, including COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device), now possess the flexibility to provide employees with essentially the same user experience, privacy and autonomy they are accustomed to on their own devices. Legal liability, accordingly, is now the major difference between corporate-issued and personal devices used in the workplace.

This reality radically changes the relationship between employees and their mobile devices, specifically the employee’s perceived need to own the device and incur monthly charges for voice and data. I don’t know about yours, but my inbox gives me access to newly commissioned BYOD surveys nearly every day. The preponderance of the data I’ve seen indicates that the major drivers behind BYOD are device preference and greater control of personal data. My guess is that if those requirements could be satisfied through a corporate-issued device policy, a large percentage of employees would be perfectly content to cede ownership rights to their employers.

The bottom line is that selecting an optimal device management policy is a complex undertaking for nearly any organization, which must consider a range of factors, including costs, security, legal risks and user satisfaction. But for a business that prefers to address the mobility requirements of at least a portion of its workforce with a corporate-owned approach — due to legal, regulatory or even expense considerations — fear of failing to meet the usability and productivity needs of most users is now a thing of the past.

And speaking of the past, isn’t it time for a fresh look at BYOD?


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