BYOD Sucks and here is why I say that

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Here’s the thing.

I’m not a “Solutions Provider” or an “API Architect” or any of the other IT related positions who stand to gain a substantial amount of business when BYOD get’s implemented in the Enterprise.

Amazingly enough, these types of “journalists” are the guys who are writing a vast majority of the ‘Pro-BYOD’ related blogs that are out there in droves right now.

These guys are sharks who smell blood so of course they’re going to be all for BYOD in the Enterprise and praising the wonders of it and scoffing at all those who are against the idea.

Me, I’m one of the poor bastards who would actually have to support, troubleshoot, and maintain a BYOD implementation. I’m a Network Administrator who actually “get’s his hands dirty”. I’m out there in the trenches, dealing with everything from basic Desktop Support issues on up. Luckily, due to security related issues where I work, we will almost without any doubt never implement any kind of BYOD environment. Quite the opposite here actually.

However, I still see things from the side of the people who support infrastructures once they’re implemented unlike these guys who would do the implementation and then wash their hands and walk away. Either that or they would charge a staggering rate to act as Consultants to support the BYOD implementation that they pushed for.

Since I am a Support IT person I can see several reasons to back up why I am highly against BYOD.

1. Standardization:

Do you really want any number of possible different combinations of Smartphones, Laptops, Tablets, etc. etc. in your Enterprise?

Do you really want to become skilled enough to support every possible issue that could arise on dozens of different types of devices? Bugs, Hardware failures, Patch Management, Software installation quirks, compatibility issues, the list is practically endless. Even down to the petty grade school crap of one user who might have a personal device that is better than another user in the same position’s device and now you get to listen to them whine about it. It’s bad enough now when all we do is offer a decent choice of certain devices to choose from.

There’s also a certain look of professionalism when all the systems in your company match and look like there was obvious thought put into their implementation.

My answer, hell no.

2. Security:

Ugh, where do I start? Viruses, Malware, Tracking Cookies from individual’s internet surfing outside the company, any number of possible Crapware installations. Just exactly how far does a company’s authority to enforce activity on an employee’s personal equipment go? Do you really want to deal with the endless different issues that can arise from personally owned equipment being used on your business network? Should IT really be responsible for cleaning up malware infestations on systems that don’t even belong to the company?

Then there’s also the angle of intellectual property? So your company deals with some kind of sensitive information and this user has lots of it on their laptop? Their laptop gets stolen or that user gets fired or laid off. Now what? If you have a legal team I’m sure they’re going to love dealing with the manure storm that can arise in that situation.

At least if the device is company owned there is an assumed liability already and controls to prevent that kind of thing can safely be implemented without the user having any real say over it. If something is owned by the company then decisions that are best for the company can be made much easier concerning the use of said device.

3. Liability:

Ok, so your user accidentally drops their laptop down 3 flights of stairs. Their personal device is now in pieces all over the lobby? Now what?

Does the company now buy this user a brand new replacement device? Refuse, and the user sues over it’s loss since they were on company property doing company work on their personally owned device.

Chances are high this new device will be better than the one that was broken since gadgets update so quickly. So now the business buys a replacement? What happens when the user leaves the employ of this business? The cost of that device is now lost and this user now has a nice shiny new device paid for by the company.

There are potentially dozens of other reasons to add to this list and each one can have dozens of different little sub-categories of reasons within in them. Enough to turn this blog entry into an Encyclopedia. I think the basis of my opinion is made well enough with just these three.

While BYOD may be an excellent choice for small companies that don’t have the resources to have an on staff IT department saying BYOD is inevitable for the Enterprise is simply ludicrous.

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6 Responses to BYOD Sucks and here is why I say that

  1. Joe says:

    I see they took the conversation off the IT Admins Group on LinkedIn….WTF?!

    • Mike Rigsby says:

      Yeah, I had an InMail from one Charles Williams, apparently one of the group moderators, this morning:

      “Deleted because you either cannot or will not follow IT Admins Network group rules. Maybe you just haven’t read them yet. Please take a few minutes and do so. And if you didn’t read the rules, don’t get all bent out of shape thinking I’m trying to be rude to you. I just have to keep this mail as short and simple as possible due to non-English speaking members.”

      To which I replied with:

      “I’m at a complete loss as to how my article broke any of the only rules I can find which are:

      “Promotions (this includes sales pitches) and Jobs (even those of you searching for work) in the correct categories. Otherwise you run the risk of being removed from the group. It’s a simple rule so don’t bitch because you were warned.”

      No where in that entire blog rant did I promote anything, no Sales pitches, no Jobs mentions, nothing of any kind, so I’m confused.
      But whatever, your group, your call. I think I prefer to not be associated with such heavy handed censorship without any kind of real explanation anyway so I’ll just save you the trouble and back out of the group.”

      Thank you.

      Essentially they can get bent. There are plenty of good IT related groups on LinkedIn and I have no desire to be in one that blatantly deletes conversations that they don’t agree with.

      • Chris says:

        Is the linkedin group admin chap you are refering to called “William jeansonne” by any chance?

        • Mike Rigsby says:

          Nope, I mentioned his name in the comment. Charles Williams. This blog is two years old now though so he may be no longer there. No idea as I’ve never been back.

  2. Aaron Paxson says:

    I have a few thoughts on this. You are correct to be frightened on all those aspects. It does pose a threat and implication on labor and support costs. It really depends on your implementation and policies.

    For me? Simple. It’s your device, it’s your problem. Why am I supporting BYOD? Because it makes people more productive. Think about it. If you are an iPhone user for years, and company A makes you use Droid… you are not going to be very productive (or vice versa).

    If you are a Mac user, and the company hands you a Windows workstation because that’s what they support…. again, not productive.

    It’s like putting a teenager in an adult office. Teenagers are the multi-tasking generations of the world. Phone, laptop, tablet…. tweeting, Evernote’ing, tasking…. Place one of those in an office under normal company policies, and they would slow down and hate it.

    Also, think of all the tickets and labor being used in your servicedesk to support users who do not know what to do.

    These devices are not going away, and users are just going to find their own way. Consumer devices already surpassed enterprise technology back in 2007. Enterprise technology is now slow and degraded. Enterprise users will find a way to do their work on them, whether it’s supported or not.

    For me, I’m implementing Citrix, which fixes the device problem. It the same apps as on a computer, so no extra support there. Security? No problem. Implementing proper wireless networks and vlans with security solves that problem. Device responsibility? Outline that in your policy.

    It’s a slippery road, but implemented well and planned accordingly, should make everyone happy.

    Just my $0.02


  3. Brian Tissue says:

    BYOD is a marketing ploy, plain and simple. It looks good on paper, it is a glimmer of hope for corporations and other organizations to save money on purchasing end-user devices and reduce the need for IT support.

    What organizations don’t realize is how much more it’s going to cost them implementing new security devices, implementing new/more DMZs, new access-lists, etc. Or worse yet (and more likely), they do nothing to support/implement BYOD and its costs even more as they lay off IT personnel and some dude brings in a rooted phone and brings the network down, DDoS attacks, etc.

    I have seen employee-to-employee misuse of devices in regard to device keyloggers. Doesn’t sound like your problem? Guess what? happened on your property and with your policies.

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