Troubled by BYOD? Wait till the era of wearable computing

This article is sponsored by Good Technology.

Before BYOD even became a common acronym, I had already been bringing in my own devices to work. Okay, maybe more like SYOD — Sneaking in Your Own Device. This was back in the 1990s and early 2000s, when company-issued laptops still weighed six pounds and the first thing you look for in a hotel room was an analog line for dial-up VPN.

I was a techie at heart, always on a lookout for the latest gadgets to make my life easier (and make my wallet thinner). Apple Newton? Check, multiple models. Apple eMate 300? Check. PalmPilot? Of course. And the Treo 180, the great-great-grandfather of the iPhone. I’d brought all these devices to work and even used my Apple Titanium PowerBook G4 when I traveled for work because of its lighter weight.

But back then it didn’t seem much of a big deal with IT.

Now we are concerned about BYOD because today’s mobile devices are much more powerful and can be integrated into the corporate systems. Look at the smartphone features now and what type of concerns it can raise in the enterprise:

  • Camera – Enterprise privacy issues, such as using it to snap photos of the computer screen with sensitive customer data.
  • Portable storage – Some smartphones can act like an external USB storage device. Many corporate IT departments consider USB a dirty word.
  • Mobile hotspot – Being able to use your smartphone to connect to the outside world and share that connection with other coworkers? So much for firewalls, proxies, and blacklists…

If that’s not enough to cause severe headaches, then take note: the “D” in BYOD is about to get more personal. Today’s wearable devices are watches, necklaces, and glasses; tomorrow they will be clothing, tattoos, and even implants underneath the skin.

Currently, most enterprises handle BYOD by establishing guidelines, registering personal devices, and restricting access. That works for now with smartphones and tablets. But what about in the future when wearable devices become the norm? How will BYOD expectations evolve…?

Nobody knows, but perhaps one thing is certain: the IT department needs to evolve too.

This article is sponsored by Good Technology.


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