Ascent Index: BYOD
Our last BYOD Index in March 2013 might have represented the apex of BYOD hype. Back then, BYOD or “Bring your Own Device” mentions across social channels reached about 2,600 per day, with 80,000 mentions during the entire month. While BYOD wasn’t a new concept in March 2013, it was still a hot industry topic as even some of the more traditional and inflexible organizations were beginning to at least consider allowing the use of employee-owned devices for business purposes.
But it’s fair to say the writing on was on the wall then, and the hype around BYOD would not sustain. In fact, my partner Luke was prescient in his analysis of the Index findings in that March 2013 post:
“(I)f I had to make a prediction, I’d say that in a year from now, our Index will show that BYOD interest has waned. I think we’ve reached the peak of the BYOD craze; in the past couple of years we might have we tackled this topic from enough angles that the conversation will slow down moving forward.”
17 months after Luke’s prediction, social mentions of BYOD have dropped nearly 80 percent, as we’re averaging just 559 mentions per day over the past 30 days. Luke was right; BYOD had become well-known in the industry and organizations understood the risks inherent with both adopting BYOD and disallowing it. Perhaps our audience at the B2B IT Forum on enterprise mobility in March 2013 had the final say, as nearly all acknowledged that BYOD was the norm at their company.
As disruptive to the enterprise as BYOD has been, it is no longer driving the discussion. Today the major IT security challenges have been associated not with specific devices, but with employee use of unapproved apps or services. Employees share and collaborate on presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and images on a daily basis. The accessibility and simplicity of cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive have made them extremely popular among consumers and hence employees, who have eschewed the traditional, bulky, and IT-controlled sharing solutions.
The decisions made by CIOs and IT pros in August 2014 are not if they should allow BYOD, but how they can protect proprietary data sent from workstation to the cloud to the device and back again. These are the challenges that our portfolio companies PerspecSys and CloudLock solve, each of which allows organizations to use cloud and mobile apps without compromising security or data protection.
While the momentum around BYOD has waned from a social media perspective, it will leave a lasting impact on compliance, device management, security, and organizational culture. Years from now we may forget the terms BYOD and the consumerization of IT, but it is clear they have been major forces in reshaping enterprise IT.