The challenges of Information Technology today are far more than just making sure someone can log in to a server and create a service ticket. With almost everyone bringing in their own device to work and wanting connectivity no matter where they are, it creates some interesting questions for IT departments.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a challenging topic, as it is one that can decrease spending in company hardware, but also increase spending in labor due to the need to manage all of the devices that are brought in. BYOD is great in the way that you’re not pushing out new devices for every want or need. Employees are less likely to ask for the company for the newest phones or tablets when they can simply bring their own into work. On the other hand, all these additional devices can cause problems on the network that you normally would not encounter.
One common issue is that of security. How much access do you allow outside devices to your network? The least amount possible is the best answer here, but there will always be exceptions to that rule (just try telling your CEO/CFO that they can’t access company spreadsheets on their personal laptop). It’s also nearly impossible to ensure everyone’s personal devices have a current anti-virus.
A less obvious issue is the actual number of devices on the network. Is your network able to handle all of the personal devices connecting and disconnecting throughout the day? Depending on your current IP scheme, available IP addresses may be at a premium. In some cases, a whole new policy needs to be put in place for personal devices. However, the most common infrastructure change will be related to your Wi-Fi. Almost all of the devices brought in will either be a phone, tablet, or laptop. If your wireless network is not configured properly, this additional traffic can really put a strain on your network resources.
While BYOD is still a fairly new topic in the world of IT, it is not one that seems to be going away any time soon. If you haven’t done so already, make a plan for how you’ll deal with these additional devices entering your workplace. If you do allow them to connect to your network, ensure that your network is secure and that you have the available bandwidth to handle all of the additional traffic.