For the last two years, I’ve found myself completely overwhelmed by CES with its seemingly interminable array of gadgets, doohickeys, and gizmos. While many if not most of these products will ultimately fail, it’s not hard to see the high-level trend: more and more things are connected to the Internet. Hence, the Internet of Things.
This has vast implications for many areas of society, not the least of which is business. Over the last few years, we’ve heard more and more about how many organizations are allowing employees to connect to corporate networks with their own phones and tablets. Why make employees carry around “loaners” when they already are packing their own smartphones? Times are tight, and the cost savings are potentially huge. The term for this nascent trend: bring your own device (BYOD).
Early BYOD efforts have focused on securing the device, not the user. Big difference.
Early BYOD adopters primarily had to worry one device: the smartphone. Think about it. Circa 2009, did you know anyone with a tablet? The iPad debuted in 2010 and, after that, the rest is history. Today, more and more of us carry around multiple devices. iPads and other tablets are anything but rare these days. Amazingly, the number of connected wireless gadgets could triple by 2015.
Explaining the Disconnect
Despite the proliferation of multiple-device employees, most BYOD efforts continue to focus on securing the device, not the user. Today many organizations still operate under the mistaken notion that all employees bring a single device to work. While more people own smartphones than tablets, the latter clearly represents the future of enterprise computing. Case in point: Holiday sales of PCs disappointed, despite Microsoft’s aggressive–and some would say desperate–marketing efforts with Windows 8.
This is slowly changing and, quite frankly, it’s about time.
Looking Beyond the Device
Unlike traditional security products, which are licensed for each device separately, Sophos EndUser Protection provides consolidated protection for every device on a network by securing per-user rather than per-device. This means the organization receives protection for all of a user’s devices–from Windows and Macs to mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and Android devices–wherever users go.
This is the next logical step in BYOD, and Sophos’ holistic approach is the more intelligent one. I’m not going out on a limb by predicting that people will only bring more and more devices to work with them. For instance, Google and Apple are both rumored to be working on Web-enabled watches. Google Glass might be a few years away, but wearable technology is here to stay.
It’s high time that organizations realize that the days of the single-device employee are coming to an end. What do we call the next phase of BYOD? Perhaps BYODs is apropos.
Whatever you call it, focus on the user, not the device.
What say you?