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The BYOD debate is not over

Matt Hamblen | July 20, 2015
Another poll, and new wireless carrier policies, signal BYOD could have renewed life.

Egan said overall IT spending trends don't show that companies are shifting device costs to their workers and said one reason is that the "real and perceived business risks to go BYOD are too big."

What Egan meant is that BYOD could result in employees losing corporate data on a personal device that could incur costly lawsuits and repairs.

Starting five years ago, some companies did go with BYOD in hopes of saving costs on devices and monthly network service costs. "Most companies that catapulted into BYOD in search of cost savings now feel like Wiley Coyote face-planted into a brick wall," Egan said.

One IT consultant familiar with BYOD policy deliberations within corporations said he expected to see a decline in corporate interest in BYOD until recently, when actions by U.S. wireless carriers to eliminate subsidies have encouraged business policies that could boost BYOD.

"I saw the [demise of BYOD] three years ago, but my recent experience has been shaken to the core and I think BYOD is going to have a rebirth," said the consultant, David Schofield, a partner in Network Sourcing Advisors, a firm that performs network audits and contract negotiations for companies seeking the best deals from carriers.

"I have clients with thousands of devices that are going to BYOD," he said.

Schofield explained that the latest trend with U.S. wireless carriers is to eliminate traditional carrier subsidies for the cost of a new smartphone and eliminate early termination fees, while lowering the monthly cost of voice, text and data.

Without that carrier subsidy, the upfront cost of a phone might go from $250 to as much as $800, he said. "Companies do not want to pay full price up front for a device," he said, so that may mean they will rely more on employees paying for, and working with, own devices.

"This is a very dangerous approach because ... it pushes enterprises into a straight consumer model," Schofield said. Many of Schofield's clients are moving to BYOD even though security risks and device management costs could be greater with BYOD. "The financial liability on the newest devices outweighs their risk comfort level," he said.

However one interprets the results of recent polls, the BYOD debate doesn't seem like it will be going away anytime soon.


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