IT strikes back in BYOD battle

Man with headache

IT pros besieged by demands to support all manner of once-unsanctioned tablets and smartphones in the office really want users to know why they hesitate to do so.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend puts IT departments in a bind. Employees — often led by C-level execs — want to use their iPads, iPhones and other devices for work. But while those devices are easy to use, they’re not so easily integrated into corporate IT, especially in an age where IT staffs have been cut while their workloads have not.

My story last week on this issue — based on new Forrester research — struck a chord with IT pros. They didn’t disagree with the idea that if IT “locks down” personal devices — stripping iPhones of Siri as IBM is doing for example — employees will just use the devices anyway, but without IT awareness or sanction. Their beef is more around the reason IT isn’t necessarily rushing to embrace BYOD.

From their posted comments it was clear that IT pros don’t fear and loathe BYOD but that their departments are understaffed and overwhelmed.

Here’s a sampling of the commentary:

Todd Baker wrote that the underlying issue is that IT is not getting the resources it needs to support these devices:

Blame the executives who refuse to fund what IT does, continuously cut back and outsource the departments and still demand the same performance and productivity. … if you want a solid IT department you have to pay for it.

Commenter Tony agreed:

I’m not saying [BYOD] wouldn’t be great – I’m just saying, this costs money, that the corp execs just don’t want to spend, and I’m damn sure not gonna waste my time doing it (researching your tool-needs), when I’m already juggling the workload of 3, due to cutbacks.

Another post, signed by Projectzme, said one suggested solution — desktop virtualization — is too pricey to be realistic for many companies:

Forrester also suggests virtual technologies to provide a good solid Windows environment … [but] the world is in a recession and while the IBM’s of the world can afford to … get a VMware or Citrix infrastructure in place is expensive. Sure this could be done off site in the “cloud” but again, security is not in your control. For many companies just staying afloat is a problem enough.

Given the passionate arguments, don’t look for this BYOD debate to wind down any time soon.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock photographer Ostill

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