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Support Costs are a Major Deterrent to BYOD Adoption

Our skeletal IT staff, which supports the organization doesn't have the time and skill-sets required to allow personal devices to be introduced on the network, says Valerio Fernandes, GM-IT, Continental Automotive Components.

The best way to achieve lower IT costs is through standardization and centralization. But as soon as computing resources are made available to users, standardization gives way to customization and centralization gives way to the demand for mobility. As a result, even as hardware, software, and infrastructure costs promise to fall, overall operating costs rise.

At Continental, there's currently a BYOD pilot underway at two locations--Germany and Shanghai--to test the waters. But support costs are a major deterrent to adoption. Our skeletal IT staff, which supports the organization doesn't have the time and skill-sets required to allow personal devices to be introduced on the network.

Most areas of complexity in IT share a common thread: Users. The increased use of personally-owned smartphones at, and for, work causes administrative problems, because unlike company-issued devices, these do not have device management features enabled. Consumerization is an attempt to increase productivity and cost optimization. But in that race, compliance with existing IT policies is not a top priority. Internal customers, in spite of set guidelines, will tamper and expect support. This makes closing the door on BYOD a no-brainer from a security perspective.

Let's look at it from another perspective: Would you be willing to expose critical data in exchange for momentary cost benefits? Depending on how 'smart' a phone is, there's different levels of data you can lose when a phone is lost. But even information such as contacts, SMSes, and call logs can be used to launch social engineering attacks.

Finally, the impressive diversity of mobile operating systems is a challenge in its own right. Attempting to support this sort of complexity is bound to become counter-productive in a short while. And so, the inability to support business devices will only widen the gap the initiative aimed to bridge in the first place.


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