In a post to the betanews web site titled Gartner says the PC has no future, Joe Wilcox, managing editor of this publication, points to economic conditions as a key driver for BYOD. We hadn’t looked at BYOD from this angle before. But we have to agree with him.
Economic conditions since 2007 have driven organizations to capitalize on the willingness of employees to purchase their own computing gear. The average enterprise IT organization is not likely to complain when groups of employees spend their own money on computing devices capable of handling office computing tasks.
Consider the impact on the bottom line of a large bank when lots of managers opt to pay for their own smart phones, tablets, and even internet connectivity. Profit numbers go up. Analysts are happy. One of the two en vogue indicators, profit, spirals up when employees pay the tab and work from the road, home, or wherever it makes sense.
We’ve written at considerable length elsewhere in this blog about our security concerns stemming from BYOD. Joe’s post doesn’t diminish our concerns. Until organizations directly feel the pain of security holes, we don’t think they are likely to do much about them.
A lot of the security problem accompanying BYOD can be attributed to organizations not training users to follow the right procedures to safely complete work. We estimate that 80-90% of security problems are caused by user error (recent work on behalf of a client included a thorough review of reliable statistics on security problems since 2007). Administrators and end users are both users of the cloud and SaaS applications built for BYOD.
If an administrator fails to enforce the right procedure for configuring encrypted controls over web site access, her error must be counted as a human mistake, not a structural problem in the access control system for the web site. Public perception of the actual controls built into cloud and SaaS systems does not align with reality. Most of these systems can be used safely if users follow correct procedures.
Joe sees substantial annual growth in BYOD devices up to 2017. We agree with him on this one too.
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