By Gavin Camilleri, Managing Director at bluesource,

What is the trend?

With growth statistics suggesting that 40% of workers are using their personal devices to access business applications and resources, BYOD is a trend businesses can’t ignore.

Although there is growing pressure on IT to manage the risk posed by BYOD, there is a real opportunity to turn BYOD to a business advantage by driving improvements in employee productivity, performance and adding extra support for the growing numbers of remote and mobile workers.

Businesses benefit from employee expectations as they no longer see "work time" and "personal time" as separate categories. This is because a growing number of employees prefer to use a single tablet for work and personal use - with access to corporate email and other business applications, outside business hours.

However, there is a growing pressure on IT to manage the risk posed by BYOD. Gartner predicts that by 2016, 20% of enterprise BYOD programs will fail due to deployment of mobile device management measures that are too restrictive. The key is the introduction of appropriate BYOD strategies that manage the risk and optimise the business benefit

What do businesses need to think about?

Mention BYOD and the discussion automatically turns to Mobile Device Management (MDM) and this is a major challenge area for IT. To achieve success, the most appropriate MDM technology for the business units must be established. If running multiple MDM’s - Active Sync, BES, Good, Mobile Iron etc - an organisation must manage these and migrate users and policies too.

But for successful BYOD and mobile implementations businesses also need to consider
o The suitability (compatible and user friendly) of key business applications for mobile devices and the delivery of content in a consistent manner to the user device of choice
o Define what business processes are required by mobile users, ensure that vendors support these workflows satisfactorily on mobile
o Establish which upgrades are required for key business applications, as more recent versions of the software provide a richer mobile experience
o Identify if the same applications can help businesses to enforce a mobile management strategy, if permissions can be allocated for specific work groups, including mobile users / remote workers
o Examine if this will prompt the need for an overhaul of permission levels for all key business applications, the impact of mobile users and single sign on policies
o Ensure that vendors understand the importance of mobile compatibility in a business and can they provide an independent and expert opinion for the applications they offer

It is also crucial to review security policies and governance requirements. Governance can be considered a blocker to BYOD as businesses, as it’s perceived that all data needs encryption and all business related calls need recording. A review of governance requirements may however reveal that although this may be true for some usersdata, it does not apply to everyone, and a more standard approach for the majority maybe acceptable. This will lower the TCO and ultimately make it a more viable solution.