BYOD: Why it's time for CIOs to get their strategy straight

CIOs must embrace consumerisation and bring-your-own-device, because it's here to stay...

Enterprise mobile device strategies are experiencing enormous disruption thanks to staff insisting on using their own devices to access work systems and data as part of the the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.

Woman using iPhone

The BYO trend is here to stay, say analystsPhoto: lululemon athletica

Ovum reckons the BYOD trend is here to stay for the medium term at least as consumers have shown themselves willing to replace mobile kit faster than enterprises can afford to.

Ovum's report, entitled The BYOD Gap: Trends, Strategy, and the State of Mobile Device Management, notes the role of the IT department is being reduced - handing control to employees who are bringing consumer kit to work, and forcing enterprises to rely on mobile device management (MDM) services to plug the gap and tackle device data security and management challenges.

"In the past, enterprises have driven adoption of the latest computing hardware, having been courted by device manufacturers and distributors for large-volume orders. However, the huge popularity of iOS and Android devices in consumer markets means enterprises are now having to respond to employee demand to use devices that the enterprise has no control over, to access corporate data and applications," noted Richard Absalom, Ovum consumer impact IT analyst and author of the report, in a statement.

"This is shifting enterprises away from the traditional model of IT department control and forcing them to plug the gap with a BYOD strategy. With Apple and Android driving the BYOD trend, the individual employee will become an increasingly important primary device channel into the enterprise."

As a result, MDM companies have been booming in the past 12 months, says Ovum - and they're going to continue to clean up as it predicts the BYOD landscape will get increasingly complex.

Apple currently dominates the BYOD trend and this has made life "relatively easy" for enterprises to keep employee-owned devices secure, as Apple limits the release of new iOS devices to roughly yearly refreshes. But the analyst notes that the rise of Android and Microsoft's push with Windows Phone will ramp up the complexity of BYOD - posing increased security problems thanks to an ever-increasing number of devices.

"This rate of innovation means MDM vendors are here to stay," Absalom said. "It is unrealistic for most IT departments to keep up with every device, platform and API update needed to keep their data secure."

In related news, analyst house Gartner has also been discussing the challenge presented by BYOD and says CIOs need to be ready to embrace...