Why Bring Your Own Device Needs the IT Department

By Lauren Fritsky

A recent CIO article asks readers if the Bring Your Own Device trend has made the IT department redundant or if it might have this impact down the line. The author makes the case that Bring Your Own Device might siphon control away from the IT department and keep it tightly clenched in users’ hands. End users can’t just walk into work and start accessing corporate applications on a whim, however. IT is still as relevant, if not more so, in this BYOD world for a few key reasons.

IT understands why users want to bring their devices to work

The CIO article makes the claim that BYOD has taken off because internal hardware and support aren’t good enough at many organisations. This could be true in some cases, but the overwhelming sentiment seems to point to users wanting a more streamlined experience that mimics their personal computing environment. Users have fallen in love with their devices, not just what these devices can do. Bring Your Own Device likely springs more from the desire to incorporate a beloved possession into one’s work environment than a perceived failure on the IT department.

IT manages compliance with company policy

Bring Your Own Device isn’t a free-for-all. Any organisation considering BYOD will likely require employees to review and sign a user device policy, something Datacom recommends when working with companies implementing this programme. This agreement will typically outline which devices employees can bring in, which applications they can access and which employees can access them.

IT links the device to the company system

Employees can’t bring a smartphone or tablet in and instantly access all their work applications. They need IT to hook up personal devices to the network and identify specific support needs for different devices.

IT oversees security and access to apps

The IT department is charged with issuing password protection, allowing and denying access to certain apps and decommissioning devices that are lost or stolen. It’s also their responsibility to keep track of new users to ensure proper user settings are in place and that corporate data is wiped if an employee is leaving the company.

IT elevates, not demotes, its position with BYOD

Rather than looking at Bring Your Own Device as decreasing the need for the department, a case can be made that this move enables more strategic IT. The department stays on the pulse of what users want and can assume a crucial role in creating policy for additional technology initiatives going forward.

What do you think: Has BYOD had a positive or negative impact on IT?

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