How CYOD Helps Hybrid Cloud
Recent analysis by IDG/DELL has found that companies are expecting “increased IT efficiencies” and “lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) with optimized application delivery” as they move toward hybrid cloud and private cloud deployment. In short, they expect things to work better and cost less. The cloud, though, is not just about storage of data or processing online customer requests. A great deal of day-to-day work is now performed by company staff, who enjoy the convenience of the cloud as a place to store and access work files, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, as well as learning modules, policies and procedures manuals, training videos and knowledge bases.
This has brought on another headache for IT managers and company officials who must deal with the fact that many employees can, and do, use their own personal devices (smartphones, tablets & laptops) to access the company cloud, from the office, from home or the coffee shop. This growing trend, called bring your own device (BYOD), offers great convenience to employees, since it blends both work and personal lives onto one device, one that also happens to be the device that best fits the individual’s approach to learning, thinking and doing.
The challenge, of course, lies primarily in the huge security holes that open up when people use their own machinery, to access company files. Few users are actually aware of just how much confidential information they have stored on their mobile device (emails, documents, etc.), and similarly very few maintain sufficient protections against viruses and Malware, especially when using this same device for personal entertainment. Generally the vigilant mindset relaxes when on personal time, and this becomes highly problematic when the business/personal operating device is one and the same.
Further there are substantial costs involved in supporting a wide range of devices and their operating systems.
In addition, there is significant doubt as to the genuine efficiency of a personal device-equipped workforce, especially at the office. As Charles Anderson, head of telecoms and mobility for IDC Asia-Pacific pointed out recently, in the office environment, where access to email and documents is already available, there is not a significant cloud ROI, and in fact there are cases in which the majority of the increased bandwidth required on corporate networks was given over to leisure activities such as YouTube viewing. (ZNet, November 2013)
This dilemma – how to satisfy and engage employees while still protecting corporate assets is being answered by a new trend – a hybrid in and of itself – between the open market of BYOD and the more rigid, traditional world of company-issued laptops and phones. In this new approach, employers make available a range of devices that vary in terms of brand and functionality, and which have been fully loaded and prepared, in terms of virus/malware protection, network access and secure compatibility with the company’s network and cloud management structure. These devices are offered as a selection from which the employees are allowed to make a selection. This concept is called choose your own device (CYOD), and many industry watchers are confident that this will soon eclipse BYOD as a milestone in smart mobility management.
CYOD devices include PC’s manufactured by DELL and others, as well as smartphone and tablets, made specifically to coordinate with a company’s existing cloud systems, or with a Dell cloud management solution such as Boomi. Their benefits are numerous, and not simply in the front-line areas of email management and document access. One of the most significant developments in building and retaining an engaged and productive workforce comes from the techniques involved in onboarding (acclimatizing a new hire to the environment), as well as professional development. A shift away from formalized classroom instruction to more interactive, quicker and specific learning modules allows for greater retention and skill improvement, since it, too, corresponds with an individual’s own learning style and schedule in a way that exceeds that of old school training.
HR managers and others recognize that a great deal of learning and work-related activity occurs outside of a company’s walls, as well as outside the traditional work hours. Training-related YouTube videos and private instructional guides are proving to be highly efficient in providing the necessary understanding and ability required of each employee in a time efficient manner.
What the CYOD principle offers, then is a hybrid approach to equipping a workforce by combining the best of personalization with up-to-date security and protection controls. It represents another positive step forward in the ongoing relationship between people and the technologies they employ to get things done.
This post is brought to you by End-to-End Solutions for IT Pros and Dell.
By Steve Prentice
Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.