Apu Pavithran, Founder and CEO, Hexnode | Mitsogo Inc

Apu Pavithran is the Founder and CEO of Hexnode |Mitsogo. Recognized in the IT management community as a consultant, speaker, and thought leader, Apu has been a strong advocate for IT governance and Information security management. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship and spends significant time working with startups and empowering young entrepreneurs.

 

Our reality underwent a paradigm shift when the global pandemic struck us – until then, using personal devices for work was an idea experimented by the millennials (mostly). The pandemic-induced shift to remote work took BYOD from taboo to acceptable to, in some cases, even preferred. Out of necessity for their employees to have the tools they need to continue working remotely, many businesses signed off on BYOD. Now, as the global chip shortage extends to 2022 and beyond and with the ever-rising popularity of hybrid work, the BYOD culture is needed more than ever.

Will BYOD be the norm in 2022?

The shift to remote work was indeed the catalyst that stimulated the surge to the BYOD practice. However, even as the pandemic winds up and the workforce returns, BYOD mode is likely to stay and perhaps increase. Why is it so? The simple answer would be that employers managed to save the cost of buying a device for each employee, and employees discovered that they work faster and more efficiently when using their own tech.

Even though the world is opening up, the culture of work from anywhere is still  voted for by many. Among the millennials, 69% are of the opinion that regular attendance in the office can be avoided. In fact, to force businesses to retain the anywhere work scenario, employees are resigning in droves, which has avalanched into a mass exodus coined “the great resignation.” Most businesses have thus implemented a culture of hybrid work that integrates the best of both remote and on-premise work. BYOD enthusiasts could not be happier. The versatility of the hybrid model synchronizes effectively with the adaptability of BYOD. Using a single device for their personal and professional life will eliminate the burden of hurling multiple devices to manage work and life.

What’s more, the inception of 5G offers super-fast internet with minimal latency, and with Starlink, the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla CEO promise to deliver high-speed broadband to every corner of the world. In addition, most tools and solutions used by businesses are shifting to the cloud, allowing users to access it from their personal devices, irrespective of their location.

The Pitfalls of BYOD

Along with all the advantages brought by BYOD, it brings its fair share of tangles. Security is the primary cause of concern. There are undeniable risks associated with giving employees access to corporate resources through their personal devices. The report, 2020 cybersecurity in the remote work era indicated that 67% of organizations claim that their security posture was affected by allowing personal devices into the corporate network. Of course, the combination of personal and business apps and data requires detailed segmentation and containerization. As a result, organizations will find it challenging to secure only their corporate data without intruding into employee privacy.

Another issue lies with the management of these devices. It would be a hassle for the IT team to manage a large diversity of platforms and devices brought on by BYOD policy. In addition, providing technical support, installing and uninstalling enterprise applications etc., would be both time-consuming and sometimes even may not be possible if the employee is working remotely.

Future-Proofing the BYOD front

Implementing a new system or model always brings new challenges with it. The first step here would be education. Organizations must educate their workforce with proper and safe methods for using  personal devices at work. They must also be made aware of the risks and consequences of BYOD and the safety measures they need to adapt.

Providing stipends is another way to incentivize employees to use devices with in-built security features that match the company’s requirements. These stipends would be granted to the employees who meet the preset requirements (for example, a windows user will be eligible for a stipend if he chooses a device with a trusted platform module built in it).

Of course, the most crucial aspect of securing your BYOD front will be incorporating unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions into the arsenal. Modern UEMs offer support for almost all major devices and platforms. UEMs allow the creation of separate work profiles in personal  devices which are separate containers for corporate resources. Within these containers, the parent organization could remotely install applications, transfer corporate data, and secure it with no access to any bad actors. UEMs even allow the organization to remotely lock the container if the device is lost or stolen, preventing attackers from accessing company data.

What’s Next

The BYOD market is said to reach $367 billion by 2022. It will continue to be implemented by employers to reap its benefits and augment their device roster. Nevertheless, BYOD is still a risky venture, and IT managers will have to keep their sight focused on the devices entering their domain. The truth is BYOD culture will always remain a subject of debate. While some employees prefer boundaries between their personal and professional lives, the line is very much blurred to others.

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