BYOD – What does it mean for the MSP?

Debbie Thomson

Just like big data, BYOD has been a major talking point in the IT industry this year and will continue to be an influence as we continue on into 2014.

When you consider the increasing prevalence of mobile devices throughout the world it stands to reason that the use of these mobile technologies in the workplace will become a more regular occurrence – so really it comes as no surprise that the industry has taken notice.

BYOD and Mobile Device Management (MDM) present a huge opportunity for the MSP – from support contracts all the way through to hardware and cell phone contracts.

mobile-devicesWhat is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

The number of employees who are bringing their own devices into the workplace is continuously increasing and there are numerous reasons why BYOD is becoming more popular in recent years.

For one, there is a certain amount of flexibility afforded to the employee by having access to a device they can work from at any time; they can work more efficiently and be more productive by being able to take work away from the office. Using their own device to do so is obviously an easier and more preferable option to carrying both a personal and a company device, especially when just one would suffice.

And the benefits are not simply for the employee either; as many employers are also seeing the advantages of a BYOD approach for their organizations. Not only will their employees be more satisfied and more productive, they will also be paying for their own equipment! It’s a win-win situation.

However this is a trend which clearly raises a lot of questions; how do you manage devices which are not company owned? How do you ensure these devices are secure? Who is responsible for protecting the information held on these devices? What additional costs could be incurred by allowing different devices onto the network?

What does all this mean for the MSP?

It has been predicted that the use of mobile devices is set to overtake desktop by 2014. When coupled with research from Gartner which suggests that by 2017 half of employers will make the use of personally owned devices in the work place compulsory – it’s clear to see that the BYOD trend is here to stay!

Although it is becoming apparent that BYOD is more than simply a passing phase, a recent survey of MAX users found that only 19% of the MSPs questioned were already monetizing on BYOD – quite a small number when you consider its significance.

Sooner or later (probably sooner) as organizations begin to adopt BYOD practices they’re going to start looking for answers to those unanswered questions – and who better to answer them than their trusted MSP?!

mobile-securityAre you prepared for BYOD?

The time has come for MSPs to prepare for BYOD and the numerous opportunities it offers. By being proactive now, you can assist your clients at every stage as they make the transition to BYOD – providing a monitoring and management service which will enable you to tie in your customers and bring increased revenue per customer.

The first thing you will need to consider as an MSP is security – this is always going to be the biggest concern for everyone involved when enabling unknown devices to connect to a network. Here you have the opportunity to advise your clients of exactly what the risks and implications are when considering a BYOD approach and work with them to put an appropriate strategy in place.

Assuming that the strategy you put in place is going to require your assistance in managing these devices you will need to be sure you are prepared for this and there are a number of areas you will need to consider to ensure you are able to manage mobile devices on this scale.

First of all do you have the best tools in place to monitor, manage and report on mobile devices, while of course still offering the same level of service you always have? And we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention that MAX RemoteManagement will be brining you an MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution directly integrated into the dashboard by the end of September 2013.

You will also need to ensure you have appropriate policies in place to protect both yourself and your clients; these can cover everything from what level of support you will be offering to what devices you will support among other things.

Tell us in the comments below about your experiences (positive and negative!) with BYOD – are your clients shouting out for it or have you just ignored it for the moment?!