Consumerization of IT refers to the cycle of information technology as it surfaces in the consumer market and develops into the business sector. Consumerization is a suitable term since the technologies are first embraced by the consumer at home for personal use, but then slowly emerge into the workplace. We often hear of BYOD (bring-your-own-device) when discussing consumerization. BYOD is a trend where employees are connecting to the corporate infrastructure with their own mobiles devices. Not only does consumerization and BYOD refer to smartphones, laptops and tablets, but also online services, social networking sites and cloud-based storage solutions.
It’s only natural that as new electronic technologies are introduced into the market people will adopt them for personal use, but also want to take advantage of them at work. The challenge and risk for the business is that the tools their employees want to use are developing on the consumer side, not the IT side. In the eyes of IT and management, these are unapproved technologies because they are untraceable, which poses security risks. Even with corporate policies and security measures, personal devices aren’t managed properly enough to comply with rules and regulations. It prompts the need to develop new security guidelines that are suitable to implement on personal devices.
Consumerization and mobility go hand in hand, and some organizations are realizing it’s inevitable to embrace BYOD and consumerization. Why? Well research indicates that these trends increase productivity, business agility and overall performance. Boosting employee communication, collaboration and satisfaction, as well as saving money are just some of many advantages. Instead of a company going through the hassle of purchasing and assigning laptops, phone and tablets, each employee can select their preferred devices and have them set up with the company’s software and security controls.
The flow of cutting edge technology is originating out of the consumer market, not the business community. As employees are exploring and learning new technologies on high-tech devices, it’d be foolish not to allow that knowledge into the workplace. You never know how that innovation might benefit your company, and it’d be awful to miss a great opportunity. Before shutting down the idea of BYOD in the workplace, take some time to see that the potential opportunities and savings more times than not outweigh the risks.