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Big Leap Forward

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Employees are undergoing a phenomenal change in the way they work, and as more multitasking tech-savvy people join the workplace, companies are finally getting around to accepting their need to be connected on their preferred devices.

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“As the enterprise becomes more of a borderless environment, smartphones, tablets, other endpoint devices, and web applications are irreversibly changing the way people work and play online, making BYOD an inevitable trend,” says VC Gopalratnam, CIO globalization and VP information technology, Cisco.



According to Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR) a global survey, three of every four employees in India confirmed their preference toward companies that offered flexibility with devices at workplace.



Additionally, with new devices proliferating in the market, it will increasingly become difficult for companies to restrict their employees, adds Gopalratnam, Cisco.

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Due to consumerization of IT, employees want device choice beyond the ones stipulated by the company and at the same time, want to be mobile and productive. Companies are looking to adopt powerful technologies to maximize the true potential of a consumerized workforce.



Nilesh Goradia, head, pre-sales, Citrix says, “As an immediate outcome, BYOD has facilitated increased productivity by enabling the users to be more accessible as they get to use their own devices. It also works as a motivational factor as BYOD allows the employees to work from any device or operating system that he/she is comfortable. A combination of BYOD with the virtualized work environment makes it truly productive for the employee and also helps the company to maintain a secure internal IT infrastructure.”



BYOD is a reality and enterprises are embracing instead of fighting the inevitable as it offers choice to their workers, attract and retain younger talent who are the early adopters. It empowers the employees to choose the best device to get their work done, including laptops as well as smartphones and tablets.

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Where does the Moolah Come from?



The company usually tends to fund the employees. According to a recent Research Corner survey, more than 75% of the companies choose to fund the employees mainly in case of tablets and laptops.



Gopalratnam adds, “In terms of device proliferation, there has been investment from both the employees as well as from the enterprise. In the past enterprise organizations defined models and makes for phones, laptops or any other end points which they would allow into their network. However we believe the success of BYOD largely depends on the architecture. With a secured internal infrastructure in place, companies don't have to go after the devices anymore.”

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A decade ago, ThoughtWorks replaced desktops with laptops and the company had integrated all its offices with Wi-Fi connectivity. Laptops were given to all employees irrespective of their positions, be it, manager, developer, admin, or the managing director. Indeed, ThoughtWorks has introduced BYOD culture in its true spirit. Since the past one year, the company is giving $1,000 for employees to choose a gadget of their choice.



Elaborating on the BYOD culture Sudhir Tiwari, managing director, ThoughtWorks India says, “We always had the core philosophy of BYOD since day one in India. Since last 3 years we are encouraging our employees to work on their personal devices as well. The entire workforce was given $1,000 to purchase a gadget of their choice and further empowered our employees.”



“Organizations are encouraging people to operate outside of the traditional workplace on their own personal devices to improve the bottom line-by making the organization more responsive, improving productivity, etc. At the same time, organizations are investing in the space they have to create enticing workplaces that foster collaboration, innovation and creativity,” says Mick Hollison, vice president, integrated marketing and strategy, Citrix.

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Employees feel 'more efficient and productive' by using a personally-owed device for work. Employees also feel that BYOD enables them to serve customers better.



Shubha Ramnath, director, IT services, India Subcontinent, Citrix says, “In case of Citrix, we follow a BYOD policy that offers a stipend of equivalent of $2100 (taxable) paid out to employees who opt for this. This is available to all full time employees. Today, close to 30% of Citrix employees are on BYOD worldwide, which enables them to work from anywhere using any device. There are many employees who don't take up the stipend yet bring their own devices to work.”



Is Security an Issue?

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One major issue that companies have in this field is that of security. Issues such as data theft, network breaches and financial damages from this new vector are at the top of the agenda for every security leader.



Nilesh Goradia, head, pre-sales, Citrix further adds, “While BYOD is here to stay, companies feel that it poses a security threat as any malware or virus residing on the user owned device can enter the corporate network. There are chances of data leakage due to theft, loss of the device, etc. An organization should first analyze the potential threats, as it might differ from organization to another, once the same has been outlined there should be an analysis of the available technologies such as desktop virtualization, NAC (Network Access Control), and MDM (Mobile Device management) to mitigate the potential Security risks. After the technology has been decided a company should devise a complete policy surrounding BYOD which defines the entire process surrounding BYOD in the organization”



BYOD might be a cool idea both for employees and companies, but security remains a top concern. Using one's own device at work may pose a threat to company's data, but Indian enterprises seem to be embracing the trend with as many as 80% employees saying their companies allow them to bring their personal mobile phones and laptops to work.

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