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Forrester: work-mandated 'bring your own computer' imminent

updated 10:00 pm EDT, Wed June 13, 2012

BYOC increasing every year, thousands spent annually per employee

Industry analyst company Forrester Research revealed this week that 53 percent of employees are using personally-owned technology in the workplace, a five percent increase from last year. Senior executives lead the charge, with 77 percent of them buying their own hardware, and 45 percent purchasing software. Nearly 10,000 IT workers were polled in 17 countries from companies with 20 or more employees to collect this data.

Forrester predicts that within three years, most companies will make any customer-provided technology the norm, and purge rules forbidding personal devices to the point that self-purchasing may become a requirement for new employees. Information technology departments' primary concerns with employee-owned hardware are usually security-related. Without a coherent and strict information-sanitization policy in place, an employee's Internet habits outside the workplace could introduce a virus or other malware into the company network.

A previous report about self-purchased information technology in the workplace by Forrester found that the average amount an employee spends per year on IT for work exceeds $1,200, with executives spending nearly $4,000 annually on hardware and software. Approximately 74 percent of workers completely paid for a work-related laptop in lieu of either using an issued computer or going without.

A previous Forrester analysis predicted Apple keeping the lead in the tablet market through 2016. Out of 1,810 Americans polled, Forrester Research found only 10 percent considering a Windows 8 tablet, which qualified for second place behind the iPad in the study.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. TheGreatButcher

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jun 2000

    +7

    Doubtful

    I don't see the day where companies go with a bring your own computer policy. That'd be an IT nightmare and a huge security hole.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007

    +4

    Yeah,

    Maybe for smaller offices, but large corporations... yeah, right. Enterprise and personal computers don't mix and never will.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000

    +6

    No way

    Who's going to willingly shell out their own money for a computer and then be okay with some IT department flunky dictating what they can and can't put on it? That's what's going to have to happen, if companies want to keep any semblance of security on their networks.

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Mar 2009

    +3

    Companies are just cheap

    Unfortunately, the government contractor I work for is seriously considering BYOD and I mean big time, top of their agenda. This is happening at the same time they're asking for input on how to reduce overhead expenses. Shift the IT budget to the employees without any compensation and we're allowed to keep our jobs. Security? Cross your fingers and hope nothing happens. Something infects a BYOD computer, take it off the network and either confiscate it or it's the employees problem to fix.

    There's a large line between how my government computer is configured and how my home computers are configured (johnpford). I will never take or use my home computers for work. It's my company's responsibility to provide me with the tools to do their work. I'm not a private contractor, I work for them. Of course, I am allowed to use Macs while too many government employees are forced to use stupid PCs running crazy Microsoft applications. Once iPhones and iPads hit the scene, upper management wanted them, IT managers fought back, and guess who's winning? Some of each actually when they talk about BYOD. That way IT isn't required to really support them as much as if they were company equipment.

    As I said in the beginning, BYOD doesn't fix anything, it just shifts the burden to the employees who still won't have any say into how IT configures everything (if we did, we'd dump Exchange, Sharepoint, and all those insane Microsoft programs).

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +2

    This is coming...

    When cellphones first came out, companies provided cell phones for their employees. After a while, they simply accepted that people have cell phones, and will use them. No more corporate cellphones.

    Now, the same thing is going to happen to the PC. Most of the developers I know prefer their own machines and it's one of the reasons the MacBook Air has been such a big seller. This is just touching a small number of employees, but it's happening in most companies.

    Security nightmare? I can't say it's necessarily any worse than now. All it takes is one infected corporate PC, and when you have thousands of PCs on a network, it's very simple for one to become infected since there are so many entry points no matter how secure. Ask the Iranians about their nuclear project. Despite their best attempts, their network got infected.

    Corporations might be better off assuming that their systems are infected and act accordingly: Use web applications using SSL. Use client/server systems. Shrink the secured Windows network down to a small core of servers. Assume everything else in the company is infected.

    That will take some development, but the cost of that development would be more than paid for by the cost saving. It's not just the cost of the PCs, it's the administrative costs associated with it. Getting a PC on a desk requires a lot of paperwork: Who is it for, what programs, what type of access on that PC do they need? Then, you have to configure the PC. That costs a few hundred dollars. Then, you have to have someone come by every 3 to 6 months and inventory those PCs.

    Once the employee leaves, that PC should go back to IT, get wiped, and then reassigned. However, most of the time, it's simply easier to buy a new PC since the returned model is obsolete,and no one wants it. This is why empty corporate offices and closets are filled with abandoned PCs that no one wants, but still are tracked and inventoried. You even see them stacked on desks, in corners, and taking over conference rooms.

    This is why a lot of companies are looking at the iPad: It's secure, cheap, and people love them. You setup a corporate WiFi network, assume it's insecure, then use a series of web apps and corporate apps for the employee to use. If the iPad is lost, it's the employee's responsibility to replace it. If the employee leaves, they take it with them. If they want the newest, shiniest model, they but it themselves.

    It's more secure and cheaper.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    +2

    This cannot happen unless

    Corporations would have to roll out something like Xen desktop or some other environment partitioning software so that your "work" desktop and files were only accessible on the corporate environment and not the personal one and only when connected to the corporate network or VPN.

    I don't see any other way that this could pass the mustard with SOX and other regulations at US publicly traded companies or any of their subsidiaries around the world.

  1. myramoki

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004

    0

    Virtualization big time!

    I worked at one company where BYOD was the norm, and that was about 4 years ago. As long as I could VPN in, and run couple specific applications, I was set. I managed all of that via Parallels running XP specifically setup for that company. I even would VPN in from XP directly, which kept the Mac side of things accessing the Internet directly as opposed to through VPN. When I left that job, I just deleted the Parallels image and moved on.

    I'm currently working in the finance sector, with highly paranoid security types, but even here, desktop virtualization is starting to take hold, and as a means of development, its actually far better than working directly with the OS. Pre-configured VM's can be handed out to developers that provide all the tools as well as a testbed deployment environment. If the developer messes it up, they can just delete it and grab a new copy. We can all enjoy working with exactly the same setup, reducing any "But it works on my machine" problems, and complicated setups can be easily handed out, and if one developer needs to develop with WebLogic on Windows, and another needs Tomcat on Redhat, that's easy to do too.

    I have a friend who works at a company where many employees utilize MacBook Air's not because they are doing Mac development, but because the machines are lightweight, portable, and the battery lasts a long time. They then use the machines to remote desktop into Windows machines at the home office. The office machines can be as big, ugly and non-portable, while the Air gives them tons of flexibility to work where they want. Just a different form of virtualization.

    My company is currently spending / wasting a lot of time testing out a new laptop for deployment to developers, and updating them to it will be another costly change. Someday, I imagine they will figure out how to deal with the security issues through virtualization / remote desktop management, which will free them to let the employees to invest in appropriate hardware to run those solutions. Even if the company offers a subsidy for employees to buy hardware, I think they'll probably still save money, and the employees will be happier having fewer computers to contend with, especially those who travel, and want the convenience of both work and personal in one system.

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