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The hidden dangers that come with the consumerization of IT

Posted on 16 Nov, 2012 by in Huddle news | 2 comments

The consumerization of IT has been an emerging trend in the business world over the last two years. Whether it is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that allow workers to connect their personal smartphones, tablets and other devices to enterprise IT systems, or staff using consumer file-sharing tools like Dropbox in the workplace, one can safely say that the consumerization of IT trend is having a huge impact on IT departments.

It is becoming commonplace in enterprises and public sector organizations for staff to use their own devices. IT departments must face up to this and find a way of managing what must feel like an enormous IT and security headache for them.

The BYOD options for IT departments

IT teams may lose a little in terms of control over devices but the benefits to be gained from BYOD are huge in terms of worker productivity, flexibility and efficiency.  Most personal devices are superior to the devices that many enterprises can equip their staff with so people are likely to use them for work anyway.

An IT department has three options when faced with staff demanding to use their own devices:

  • Ignore the problem and hope it goes away or gets forgotten about  – it won’t
  • Ban personal devices and insist that people use the corporate devices they have been provided with – they won’t
  • Embrace BYOD by agreeing to support a fixed number of devices and operating systems (OS) –clue, this is the only real option!

Recent research with Huddle’s customer base by TechValidate revealed that more than two-thirds of those surveyed accessed or used content stored in Huddle via the Huddle for iPhone app or on other mobile devices[1]. A further 75 percent did so via the Huddle for iPad app or other tablet devices, so IT has to embrace BYOD.[2]

But with IT assets located primarily outside the firewall, a strategy for addressing BYOD is essential to allay any concerns about security. If people are using unsupported devices then there could be problems but working with people on certain devices can largely eliminate this and the organization and workforce still get the other benefits of BYOD.

Consumer file-sharing tools

A greater security threat than the use of personal devices in the workplaces are consumer file sharing tools, such as Dropbox enterprise and Google Drive, which have grown increasingly popular in the enterprise as the consumerization of IT has spread. Workers are now dealing with such large files – images, videos, presentations – that when sharing these with colleagues, email systems can struggle to cope.

Using a consumer service like Dropbox may feel like someone is being efficient but the reality is that these services were originally built for consumers and not for enterprise and government organizations. There is a valid business case for file sharing services but it is safer and more efficient to use a secure business alternative such as Huddle. The content collaboration platform enables the workforce to not only securely access files from anywhere, at anytime, but also work together on documents and store all feedback and comments centrally.

The TechValidate research also showed that 33 percent of Huddle customers have replaced consumer file sharing tools by using Huddle for content collaboration.[3] Of those, around nine in ten Huddle customers said using Huddle makes working more efficient and two-thirds said that Huddle gives end users easier access to content than they did with the previous tool.[4]

Huddle customers take security very seriously and consequently, so does Huddle. Our software is used by 80 percent of UK central government departments. The consumerization of IT brings with it a new way of working – more flexible and mobile. With a little sensible thought from IT departments and the selection of the right business-grade tools, organizations can see all of the benefits without comprising on security.

How is your company addressing the issue of consumerization of IT? Drop us a line in the comment section below, we’d love to hear.

 


[1] Source: TechValidate - http://ow.ly/fl7Xy

[2] Source: TechValidate - http://ow.ly/fl7ZL

[3] Source: TechValidate - http://ow.ly/fl82L

[4] Source: TechValidate – http://ow.ly/fl84y

 

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2 Comments

  1. Lynn Ferguson-Pinet

    November 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Great post, companies have to recognize that if there is a big gap between they way they want people to do things and the natural flow of things, people will always gravitate to the natural flow.

    Thanks,
    Lynn

  2. Zoe Sands

    November 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Great post on the hidden dangers of consumerisation of IT. There is indeed a need for organisations to embrace consumerisation of IT and with the raise of BYOD ignoring this would disadvantage any organisation in terms of network security. At Juniper we have started a Consumerisation of IT LinkedIn, we would love to have you join as a member and contribute to shaping the discussions on this topic.

    Here’s the Consumerisation of IT LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=4414328&trk=anet_ug_hm&goback=%2Egsm_4414328_1_*2_*2_*2_lna_PENDING_*2%2Egmr_4414328

    I’ll also share your blog post within the group.

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