IT has no shortage of four-letter words. It’s not clear what the latest variations on the “BYO” or “bring your own” theme add.
Bring your own device (BYOD), bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own catastrophe (BYOC) for the more pessimistic – the more people invent different flavours of these acronyms, the more they risk to miss the point.
And the point is that users simply using something that is not controlled by the IT department to access and process enterprise information.
This in turn is part of a larger phenomenon in which IT departments must face the fact that their previous iron grip on enterprise data is no longer possible, not just in terms of mobile computing devices. What else is sliding out of the IT department’s control?
There are at least three areas, where a change of tactics is likely to be needed for the IT department:
- Data storage. Cloud storage is easy for users. It comes free with their home PCs, laptops, and mobile devices, or is highly affordable and user-friendly when supplied by cloud vendors. However, company data can then find its way into these same consumer storage areas.
- Shadow IT software applications. SaaS applications mean that users can rapidly and easily gain access to applications that can help them meet their business objectives. They no longer have to wait for the IT department to find the time to put a solution in place, but security may be a question mark.
- Data security. The old firewall and moat security paradigm is no longer sufficient for many organisations. Enterprise data, rightly or wrongly, is now being stored on the outside of the firewall, as well as the inside.
So, an obsessive focus on the niceties in the differences between BYOD and BYOT (if there are any differences) means a risk of missing the bigger picture and the real message. The IT department’s control that worked yesterday can no longer be assumed today.
That doesn’t mean that IT department has exhausted its usefulness: far from it, it now has an even bigger role to play, but one founded on another approach and not the “command and control” attitude that was used in the past.