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CompTIA Works Both Sides of the BYOD Street

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past three years or so, you already know that BYOD means "bring your own device." This acronym refers broadly to the phenomenon where an organization's employees use their own cellphones, tablets, notebook or laptop PCs, or other mobile devices to do "work stuff." This could occur on the road or at home (away from the office) or within an organization's premises ("inside the firewall"). CompTIA has invested heavily in supporting mobile technologies, including the Mobility+ and a couple of Mobile App Security+ certifications, but in talking to IT honchos and business executives, it has also observed that the promise or hype for BYOD has somewhat outpaced the realities of its use on the ground.

As reported in a story at CIO magazine entitled "What Is Going Wrong with BYOD?" a recent survey of 400 IT and business executives turned up some interesting and sometimes counterintuitive findings. Here's a brief recap, with some surprising stats and breakdowns:

1. BYOD isn't ubiquitous: depending on company size, somewhere between 39 and 51 percent of respondents are still avoiding BYOD completely. That means no more than half of companies are actually doing it, and as little as 2 out of 5 in some niches.

2. Early adopters have hit some bumps in the road to BYOD adoption and their example has made "later adopters" more wary of jumping on the bandwagon.

3. Contrary to expectations, BYOD does not get IT off the hook when it comes to purchasing or deploying mobile devices. Hidden costs of BYOD are, in fact, making in-house ownership and control look more attractive than it has in the recent past. Interestingly, many organization have failed to realize cost savings with BYOD because other costs have either matched or exceeded equipment and service costs for company-owned gear.

4. Though BYOD was supposed to make employees happier and more productive (they need carry only one device and could use it for work and personal stuff) BYOD user policies have shattered employee's expectations of privacy and made them wary about participating in such programs. Bureaucracy trumps technology once again!

5. BYOD was supposed to make life easier for IT in theory, but practice indicates that risks of data loss, and exposure to insecure or unwanted 3rd party apps on BYOD devices has kicked IT's workload up by an unwelcome and sizable notch.

All this leads to a progrnostication from CompTIA that the tide of BYOD may have peaked, and will not grow appreciably over the next few years. This should be an interesting trend to watch and track because there's still plenty of breathless prose and happy hype about BYOD being promulgated. Though mobility remains an important technology trend, it's looking more likely that BYOD is not the only or most popular form that mobile computing will take in the business world, especially for the most IT-savvy enterprises and organizations.