Betty may be constantly on the go, but she's never very far from her iDevice. Of course, if she runs into problems, she'll expect IT to support it, just as Android Alex and BlackBerry Bob do. And if her baby gets lost or stolen, well, let's hope there's no sensitive company data on it.
The beauty of BYOD is it enables employees to be productive from virtually anywhere with minimal up-front costs for the organization. But Betty and her cohorts aren't making any friends in the IT department.
"Each new tablet or smartphone platform introduces added complexity for IT," says Nathan McNeill, chief strategy officer for Bomgar, makers of remote support software. "Not only are reps tasked with troubleshooting them when something goes wrong, they also need to develop -- and support -- applications that work across different mobile operating systems."
How to keep them in check: Trying to keep people from using their own tablets and smartphones at work is a battle you are likely to lose. But you can take steps to minimize the pain of BYOD. Instead of trying to become experts in all mobile devices, McNeil says, tech support should try to bring in power users with OS expertise to help handle issues as they arise.
As for securing BYOD gear, it's ultimately no different than securing devices distributed by the enterprise, says Tsion Gonen, chief strategy officer for security firm SafeNet.
"You start by creating a simple policy that says you can use your phone at work so long as you don't rootkey or jailbreak it," says Gonen. "After that, it's just basic stuff -- encrypt the data, enforce a serious password, and enable remote wipes of lost devices. It's not rocket science. People want to be compliant; you just need to tell them how."
Though he's rarely seen around the office, Pedro's no slacker. He gets his work done without anyone standing over his shoulder. Thanks to Skype he never misses a meeting. And because there's no separation between his home and work life, he'll respond to urgent emails and texts after most of his colleagues have clocked out for the night.
But Pedro can be a support nightmare, especially if he lives and works in a different time zone than other employees, notes Bomgar's McNeill. He may also be using devices and applications not officially sanctioned by IT, posing potential security or compatibility problems.
"Remote workers need just as much tech support as those in the office, but they can cause more headaches," says McNeill. "If they're located in different time zones, you need members of your support team available during those hours, regardless of how inconvenient that may be."
You start to understand why Marissa Mayer banned them from Yahoo.
How to keep them in check: Having secure remote support tools are critical for helping frenemies like Pedro, McNeill says. You'll also need education materials on hand so that remote workers can get up to speed on company procedures and technologies on their own.
"Supporting remote workers requires IT to be constantly one step ahead," he says. "You need to anticipate challenges before they arise while also ensuring the tools they're using to assist these employees are not exposing the company to serious risks."