Oct 29 2012

The Shift to BYOD Pays Off

When users are responsible for their own devices, businesses see real cost savings.

One way to alleviate the anxiety of outfitting workers with new mobile devices is to avoid making the choice altogether. That’s one upshot of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Unfortunately, for all the headaches BYOD may eliminate for administrators, letting users bring their personal systems into the enterprise network creates a few new headaches in the form of management and security challenges.

In a BYOD model, employees buy hardware that straddles personal and professional environments. People take the responsibility for choosing and purchasing their own notebook or tablet systems, and then they agree to use them for their jobs. In return, organizations’ IT departments must develop systems infrastructures that safely support a wide array of personal devices connecting to enterprise applications and e-mail systems.

The effort can yield big payoffs. A well-crafted BYOD policy can help incorporate employee preferences into a sound management policy. But there are motivations beyond the desire to satisfy employee preferences, too. For example, BYOD is helping some organizations see clear business benefits from reduced capital expenses.

One company reaping those benefits is Citrix Systems, which pays 15 percent of its employees a $2,100 stipend to buy and use mobile devices. But because employees must also purchase a maintenance contract to support the hardware, the Citrix help desk staff isn’t responsible for supporting employee-owned devices. As a result, Citrix says it is saving about $500 for each BYOD device over a three-year period.