Most conversations about the rapid growth of BYOD (bring your own device) and BYOA (bring your own application) start with the ubiquity of smartphones. “Look around-- on the bus, in the subway, at a fast food restaurant-- everyone is constantly looking at their smartphones. They have become our command center for organizing and communicating with the world around us,” says Thomas Pedersen, CEO of OneLogin, a multinational cloud identity provider. However, other technology developments are contributing to the BYO trends, and the trends themselves are now driving additional changes in the technology environment.
The first that comes to mind for Joe Moriarty, vice president, sales and marketing at Content Raven, which provides content protection services, is the movement to the cloud. The fact that anyone can access content and applications that will run 100 percent in the cloud, regardless of their physical location, represents “a complete sea-change in how people do business,” he says. “When you combine the limitless infrastructure cloud offers with an abundance of mobile devices that people want to bring to work, it’s no surprise that BYOD and BYOA adoption is growing at the rate it is. It opens up new opportunities for productivity and collaboration.”
Rainer Enders, chief technology officer, Americas at NCP engineering, which specializes in remote access and VPN solutions, believes the most important technology trends being driven by BYOD/BYOA are the evolution of mobile device management solutions and a more unified approach to endpoint security in general. As the trend of accessing corporate data via personally owned devices catches on, mobile device management has to offer more security-related features over pure device management functions, he argues.
“The increasing adoption of BYOD, which undoubtedly drives productivity in the workplace, also accelerates the requirement for better network security frameworks that align with the shift from perimeter protection to endpoint protection,” Enders says. “Such frameworks must deliver the capabilities to employ critical strategies such as continuous assessment of user devices, reduction of risk by provisioning effective countermeasures, policy-driven access control, and continuous monitoring and control.”
Robust BYO adoption is having a major impact on the software side of the IT industry, spurring application developers who are working to create an enterprise app ecosystem that organizations can leverage, says Kevin Kiley, director of enterprise solutions at AirWatch, a provider of enterprise-grade mobility solutions. Most organizations are looking to use mobility to maximize investments in existing infrastructure and create ways for employees to be more productive and efficient. “Some organizations go as far as a tablet-only form factor for certain roles but support a BYO laptop,” he says. “Organizations are also looking at ways to allow machine-to-machine functionality to capitalize on previous technology purchases.”
As BYOD/BYOA continues to spread, it should drive more, and faster, technological change but also raise some cost-control challenges. “Just imagine employees beginning to wear Google Glass and the much-rumored Apple iWatch,” speculates Mark Lee, CEO and cofounder of Splashtop Inc., a developer of remote access software. “The continuing creep of devices and screens into new form factors and aspects of our lives will create new challenges for IT. How does IT ensure its existing apps and data can be effectively delivered and consumed by users of these devices without costing an arm and a leg to keep up with ever-faster refresh cycles? The investment behind critical app rendering and delivery technologies becomes critical; it needs to be time- and device-agnostic enough that it doesn’t force capital expenditures on a frequent basis.”