The latest BYOD trends and predictions, from mobile focus to endpoint management

By Jonathan Crowl

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have become common within enterprise organizations, and there’s no sign of things changing anytime soon. In spite of concerns about security breaches, internal governance, device management and a host of other potential complications, businesses are finding the pros outweigh the cons.

North American companies are leading what is poised to become a global movement toward BYOD. A survey of BYOD trends by MarketsandMarkets found that North American adoption rates were at 36 percent at the start of 2017 and project to almost 50 percent by the start of 2018.

According to research from Sapho, the average worker saves 81 minutes per week in productivity by using a personal device at work, and 78 percent of employees claim BYOD policies support a better work-life balance. Combine those positive employee benefits with the company’s financial incentives — the same study reported the average employee on a BYOD plan saves the business $1,300 every year in device and software costs — and it’s easy to see why leadership is working to implement BYOD.

The current state of BYOD isn’t perfect, but innovation and emerging trends are helping businesses come closer to an ideal workplace environment in which employees use their personal devices to boost productivity and morale while minimizing costs and security risks. With those challenges in mind, here are three top BYOD trends to follow:

1. Improved security, driven by AI

Security is always the biggest challenge facing BYOD devices. User activity is the most common cause of security breaches, but IT departments are also stressed by the inclusion of many different devices, operating systems and software versions existing simultaneously within a single enterprise environment. Efforts to improve this security are ongoing and particularly important after 2017 saw multiple cyberattacks hitting companies around the world.

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Fortunately, the security front for BYOD continues to improve, with leading security brands turning to machine learning and AI to uncover undetected malware and other new vulnerabilities. This won’t be enough to completely remove the threat of security breaches — especially when device owner behavior is part of the problem — but it does promise that 2018 will usher in BYOD security on a scale that organizations have never enjoyed.

2. Transitioning to endpoint management

Though endpoint management technology hasn’t quite hit the mainstream market, 2018 is likely to see a huge spike in reputable platforms and interested adopters. Unified endpoint management solutions offer the ability to manage mobile and desktop devices alongside one another, as well as other IT assets including inventory management solutions, business applications and office printers. This is attractive for its ability to simplify complex IT management processes, making endpoint management all the more appealing for large organizations managing devices on a massive scale.

Top endpoint management solutions will also offer greater flexibility where software and app integration is concerned, working with popular apps and software to function as a comprehensive solution for managing a range of device activity, as well as supporting security for these respective device functions.

Implementing an endpoint management solution does not dismiss companies from developing their own device policies and investing in reliable security measures that stay up-to-date on the latest threats, but it could be the best solution for a company that is struggling to manage its BYOD environment alongside other IT obligations.

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3. Managed costs through cloud-based support and data storage

The costs of BYOD policies are considerably lower than enterprise-owned device networks, but there are still costs to consider. Increasingly, solutions are providing certain BYOD support and services through the cloud, offering scalable services that are more cost-effective and don’t come with any additional hardware or security to manage.

These cloud-based services can also simplify the management and maintenance on the enterprise IT side, providing much-needed relief to overworked system managers. The cloud is also being envisioned as a solution for providing better data storage for enterprise workers. This has two key benefits: Not only do workers gain access to storage space unrestricted by their device specifications, but the cloud also provides an extra layer of security for data. It could become the go-to storage destination for sensitive business data that requires personal device access but needs more security than what an individual device can offer.

Many companies feel BYOD is the best option for enterprise device management. Given the multipronged efforts taking place to build better BYOD software and security, you can expect enterprise adoption to continue growing for years to come.