BYOD Trends to Watch in 2013

Scott Calonico

mobile devicesThe list of technical and business implications related to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend seems to grow almost daily. Tablets and smartphones are everywhere, and their user friendly-nature is awakening a certain level of technical competence in many people who have previously shied away from computers and gadgets.

This article discusses three key trends that are starting to develop and will likely impact on MSPs and IT departments as we progress through 2013.

A Focus on Software

Most IT departments are now beginning to consistently address the core issues of BYOD and mobile device management. Sadly though, it may not be enough to encrypt and control these devices centrally. Some thought must also be given to the individual apps staff are using, and how these too could have implications for corporate information security.keyboard with software

For example, popular apps such as Dropbox and Evernote are widely used by consumers. Companies need to make sure staff aren’t making use of them in ways that could compromise the business.

Staff could, for example, upload files to a personal Dropbox account to work on them at home, which could have implications for version control and data protection. This is just the start, and far more serious implications exist if staff have malicious intent.

Similarly, an innocuous list within a personal Evernote account could mean company information ending up beyond the IT department’s control.

While there’s no magic bullet to mitigate every risk, education is key. Staff must understand their obligations in terms of information security, and executive teams must realise that policies and procedures are often of equal or greater importance than technical controls and MDM solutions.

Microsoft Developments

The only way anyone could be unaware of Microsoft’s marketing push on Windows 8, Surface tablets and Windows phones would be never to open a newspaper or switch on a logo

Microsoft are clearly keen to make serious inroads on the consumer market in 2013, and the result of this is that their mobile devices are going to increasingly appear within businesses, and need to be managed. In many cases, companies will have only just got round to establishing effective ways to manage iOS and Android devices!

As an aside, but on the same subject, businesses with traditional arrays of Windows desktops and laptops that are approaching replacement time will meanwhile have to decide whether to embrace Microsoft’s new ways of doing things or stubbornly stick with Windows 7 for the next refresh cycle

Build Your Own App

The final trend we’ll discuss also has much to do with Microsoft, with the launch of the MCSE Private Cloud certification.

Private cloud environments (from other vendors as well as Microsoft), could be the trend that begins to make BYOD more manageable and sustainable. We’re talking about custom line-of-business apps, working across multiple platforms, with secure, private silos of data.

This time next year, it’s quite likely you’ll be hearing plenty about “private cloud based apps.” If you’re a progressive MSP, perhaps it’s time to work out how to build and sell them…