Microsoft pushing BYOD for all devices; even those of its arch enemy Apple.
The recent news that Microsoft was making available its Microsoft Office to Apple iPad users, were greeted with mixed feelings. Some of the headlines shouted, “Finally” showing that they have waited for Office for iPad with heightened expectation, while others could not hide their disappointment since this announcement was coming after the IT company released its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidelines. While making the announcement, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Satya Nadella implied that this was in line with the company ambition to expand the cloud services to mobile computing.
Technology analysts see the move by Microsoft as a way of telling the world that BYOD is good for us. Recently Microsoft has been increasing its support for bring your own device. This has been supported by the release of technologies which aim at making it easy for the employees to work with their devices in the office. Office for iPad is one of such latest moves, initially the company had released office mobile for iPhone users but it was limiting in terms of what one can do with their devices since they were limited by the screen size. With the Office for iPad version it will now be easier to create documents, edit them as well as view presentations.
BYOD is a concept that has been adopted by companies in a race to reduce the cost of operations or more simply put, do more with less. The concept involves encouraging the employees to bring their own devices such as computers, mobile phones, and tablets to work and use them in performing different tasks. This concept has been hailed as a big step towards reducing cost, as the organization does not have to buy devices for the employees. All that is done is to allow them to user their own devices in performing the task. The organization provides them with access and software necessary to allow them handle the tasks effectively. While a substantial number of organizations have embraced the new concept, there are others who have opposed it citing security as the major challenge.
In an attempt to provide a solution to some of the issues that have been raised in opposition of BYOD, Microsoft provided some guidelines for the users mainly on the security challenges that maybe posed by this BYOD model. Technological advancement and employees being urged to work from anywhere using any kind of device provides the framework. Organizations now are needing to embrace these new models of work but also ensure that the security of their company data is not in any way compromised. Microsoft is trying to enable users to do more and be more responsible for their own work. This concept urges the users to exercise some levels of security in order to secure the organization information as well as make the users productive regardless of where they are working from.
Apart from security concerns, the issue of compatibility has also been raised. How does the company come up with a system which will be compatible with the devices used by their employees? How can you ensure that all employees regardless of device is working with the same software type and version? This is the question that Microsoft seems to be answering with the introduction of its Office Web Apps and now Office for Apple. Now employees can be advised to buy or to have in place devices which are compatible with their choice of operating systems and not compromise on the collaboration of the document they are working on.
While this is great, organizations should be smart and ensure governance is in place to manage users access to the data whether on or off networks. The user policy should also include restricting their ability to run applications which allow them to access data directly using their devices, this not only compromises the information security but also fails to distinguish between what is allowed and restricted for the users. There are lots of things to be discussed and worked out for BYOD, but it’s definitely the new model of work. Organizations which are opposed to BYOD are in a losing battle as more millennials enter the workforce, and instead of fighting this new change, find ways to embrace it and put in place mechanisms which secure their system. There are more benefits to be realized with the BYOD model in the long run.