Comms-care Blog

BYOA is now the future- so how can businesses prepare for it?

by Darren Briscoe

May 07, 2014

Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) is the new way to interact with IT. By 2015, Gartner expects the number of employees using mobile apps in the workplace to double in size, as tablets and smartphones continue to dominate both our private and public lives. 

We are already downloading apps in the workplace without thinking about the security risks of our actions.  In fact, Gartner estimates 70% of employees using their own device are currently sourcing their own apps to do the job. They include applications such as LinkedIn, Gmail and Office365 and messaging apps such Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype. 

What does this all mean for the IT department? BYOA can be complicated and challenging for a number of reasons – but it’s even more difficult to be on top of the issue of security and maintenance when employees are using apps without involving IT. 

This unmonitored engagement of apps increases network traffic and puts business-critical solutions at risk. The environment isn’t controlled - people are bringing their own devices and using their own apps and then suddenly, when something goes wrong, it’s hard to find a solution to the problem because there’s a host of different technologies that are being used to access content and information.  Personal devices running different apps can also put a strain on the network, leading to unforeseen crashes. And if the data isn’t backed up, how can the IT department even begin to recover information?

More businesses are beginning to run desktops as virtual machines on a server to manage the work environment. Whether we are dealing with a software patch or malware, any issue that BYOA brings up can be addressed by the administrator in one go because everything is hosted virtually and not physically on a device.

We expect other innovations to become commonplace as well, such as app streaming, which can cut the security cost of managing personal devices.  There’s also talk about the idea of bespoke app stores for businesses.  In a few years’ time we expect a lot of enterprise companies to be supporting their own enterprise app stores, creating their own in-house apps and developing policies that enforce what apps can be used in the work place.

It’s a fine balance between employee satisfaction and security, but with the right mobile strategy businesses can prosper in a world that’s become reliant on using app laden personal devices to work both flexibly and efficiently.