The easy, low-cost, secure plan for enabling BYOD

A rise in vendor and consultant fearmongering endangers user productivity and IT budgets alike

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Meanwhile, IT should relax about the costs of supporting mobile. It turns out that BlackBerrys require the most IT support, so dump those to save money if that's your concern. (iOS is the cheapest to support, so get iPhones and iPads instead.) Yes, as more people use mobile devices, mobile support costs will go up in toto. But the alternative is not to use them -- hardly a smart option today. As I've shown, corporate benefits go up 15 to 30 times more than the management costs, including support.

The best ways to rein in mobile support costs:

  • Keep the security controls from being so complicated that people keep needing help. For example, the more complex the password requirements, the more you'll spend on password support -- and risk people taping their passwords to their devices.
  • Educate people that cellular networks aren't reliable, so when they get a bad signal to not call IT but to move to a different location and check how many bars they get onscreen.

By the way, these are by far the two top mobile support calls, vendors tell me. IT can reduce the former through better security usability, the second through user education (almost always given short shrift, causing unnecessary spend to remediate).

Finally, there's the issue of legal responsibility that trips up many in IT, even though it is not an IT issue. It's actually simple to handle: No matter who bought the hardware, using it to access corporate resources requires employees to cede some control and privacy over anything personal on those devices. That's a condition of use, and you can find excellent help on crafting such use policies at the Enterprise Mobility Forum. I've also put together a guide on what's known and what's not about mobile legal issues. But none is a showstopper in practice.

Enjoy the benefits of consumerization
If you follow the five steps I outline here, you'll have a more secure, more productive, more rational environment for user-facing technology that costs less to manage than you think.

None is a new idea; you hear them routinely in various context from CIOs, IT managers, consultants, and even vendors. But they tend to get lost in the fear-based, reactive approach too common in the IT community -- and stoked by unscrupulous providers.

Take a deep breath, step back, and work with the rest of your business and IT compatriots to do better safely. You can do so with far less cost, labor, and emotional toll than chasing imaginary demons with a junkyard of point solutions you're being pushed to use. Be strategic, proactive, and business-enabling instead.

This article, "The easy, low-cost, secure plan for enabling BYOD," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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