Is the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend a good thing or a bad thing? Many insurance companies see it as a golden opportunity to better support various professionals within their organizations—particularly claims adjusters, agents and others who do a lot of their work in the field—without a lot of the costs of supporting new hardware and establishing remote connectivity.
However, security is lacking. For example, a joint survey of 550 organizations by KnowBe4 and ITIC found that nearly three quarters of businesses which approve of BYOD, 71 percent, have nothing specific in place to ensure security. The research also raised concerns around difficulty of management and support (63 percent), provisioning new apps (59 percent) and security (48 percent). Almost four out of ten of the respondents, 39 percent, believed that end users were responsible for their own security, while 37 percent said the company should still be responsible.
As any seasoned IT executive can tell you, security and management always ends up back in IT's lap. Therefore, organizations need to prepare for the BYOD influx—and recognize its potential value, which may be huge in the long run.
Another analyst report, in fact, suggests that most organizations still view BYOD in a one-dimensional way, yet the possibilities offered by BYOD are boundless, extending well-beyond connectivity for field operatives. As a new report by Saugatuck Technology puts it, "Continuing to emphasize 'mobility' masks the fact that the ability to take a device on the road is only part of its utility. The range of devices coming on the market in the 'Internet of Things' will ultimately change how information technology is consumed. These devices are evolving to offer a range of computing possibilities in which mobility is only a part of the solution."
The most significant development coming out of the BYOD space is the emergence of the “personal cloud,” in which “all data of interest to an individual—including documents, photos, videos, music, drawings, databases and so on—should be stored in a single external place that is immediately accessible to all of his/her devices.” The concept also is moving further to also include applications and services, Saugatuck observes. “Key applications—apps and SaaS—should be available from any of an individual’s devices.”
The rise of the HTML5 standard is enabling development of apps and services not tethered to a specific device—the same information and processing power will be available to one's smartphone, tablet or office PC. “For example, a tablet can be used for reading and annotating documents while working on a laptop or desktop computer; it is better for consuming media than is a stationary system, while the stationary system with a full keyboard is better for writing reports.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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