Is the 'bring your own device' discussion stumping your IT group?

A new twist to the communication challenge most companies and IT departments face is the “bring your own device,” or BYOD, conundrum. I call it a conundrum because it is stumping many IT professionals.

May 23, 2013 |
Sasha Reed

Editor's note: This is a sponsored article. All text and images were provided by the sponsor company.

 

I had the opportunity to sit in on an IT roundtable discussion recently, where candid conversations were had by IT professionals from various state transportation agencies. As they outlined some of their greatest challenges, communication came up as a theme over and over again. But the new twist to the communication challenge was the “bring your own device,” or BYOD, conundrum. I call it a conundrum because it was stumping each IT professional, with no clear answer in sight.

In the building sector, BYOD is also a rapidly growing challenge as workers become more mobile and the technology lines between commercial and consumer markets become more blurred. Aiding the acceptance of personal mobile devices and tablets for work is the lack of funding available to provide a single mobile platform solution to all employees. With budget cuts deeply affecting IT spend, flexibility to allow each employee to choose his or her own device has become the reluctant outcome. 

At the roundtable, as each IT leader talked candidly about the correlation between their dwindling budgets and their acceptance of personal devices as a mobility solution for their field workers, the hot topic quickly became security. How do you secure mobile devices used in the field by workers, over various networks, with various carriers? Does security happen at the device level, the network level, or the document management level? These are all good questions, and while a few single-path solutions were offered, nothing had the scalable security options most organizations need.

At the end of the discussion, the final word was: we just don’t have enough information today to make a call (pardon the pun). Until more use cases are available which clearly define either a path to success or a path to failure, we have to allow a certain level of flexibility to our mobile workers. Secure whatever information you can secure and hope for the best.

So my question to you is: How are you grappling with the BYOD conundrum? Have you found an affordable, secure solution that meets the demands of your field workers? Do you control communication and information at the device level or at the document level? If you’ve experienced a success or failure with BYOD, we’d love to hear about it.

Sasha Reed | Digital COM
Bluebeam Software

About the Author: Sasha Reed has over 12 years of experience working directly in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) market. As VP of Strategic Alliances at Bluebeam Software, Sasha interacts directly with AEC leaders to better understand the long-range goals of the industry and help align Bluebeam’s technology partnerships. In addition, Sasha is acting Chair of the Construction PDF Coalition.  The purpose of the Coalition is to establish Guidelines to provide Architects, Engineers, Constructors and Owners (AECO) with a common framework in which to create and maintain Construction PDF Documents. Sasha has been featured as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Bentley Florida User Group and spoken at numerous industry events including the American Institute of Architects’ DesignDC Conference, NTI Danish BIM Conference, the International Highway Engineering Exchange Program and the International Facilities Management Association Conference. Sasha has also contributed articles to numerous national publications and authors the Digital Com blog for Building Design + Construction magazine. Before Bluebeam, Sasha was a Project Manager for M3, a Herman Miller dealer, where she learned ?rsthand the challenges faced by the AEC industry from project conception to completion. 

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