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BYOD? Just deal with it

"BYOD is the Gangnam Style of enterprise IT," according to Ian Yip, NetIQ's Asia Pacific product and business manager, identity, security and governance. "It's there, you've got to deal with it."

How do you do that? Mr Yip suggests the five stages of grief may be an applicable framework:

Denial IT departments typically started by responding 'you can't do that' when people began taking their own tablets and smartphones to work.

Anger 'Stop asking me if you can use your tablet!' comes next. But that doesn't work with senior executives so exceptions are made. The problem is that applying exceptions rather than policies makes it harder to maintain good security.

Bargaining 'OK, you can use your corporate email accounts on a tablet, but that's it.' Of course, people aren't satisfied with that, which leads to...

Depression 'Boo hoo, users keep finding ways around the rules.' Why? Because they need to get their work done.

Acceptance comes when IT departments realise trying to fight users over this is unproductive, and instead adopt a helpful stance combined with working to mitigate the risks involved with BYOD.

Mr Yip suggests most organisations are currently somewhere between bargaining and acceptance, and advises IT departments to take the opportunity to "be the business enabler you've always supposed to be."

While he does have a commercial axe to grind given that NetIQ sells identity and access management products, Mr Yip said BYOD is about managing employees, not managing smartphones and tablets. If you manage identity and access, it is possible to protect information in a BYOD environment, he suggested.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

 

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