Security fears must not be allowed to stymie BYOD and other mobility trends that ultimately benefit enterprises and secure their survival, according to speakers at Ovum's BYOX World Forum.
Stephan Conaway, chief information officer at Brent Council, told a panel discussion at the London event 5-6 June that the north London local authority has been reviewing the assumption that data and information must necessarily be kept secure.
"We are trying to move away from being Fortress Us. Some [of our data] is in the cloud, the rest of it [is] out there somewhere, and the government is happy with that," Conaway says.
"We are looking to secure our information assets – not everything – even though some have been quite nervous about this."
Security instead should become more granular, and focus on which specifics need protection, and how much, he suggested, because a great deal of data could be perfectly safe – or at least as safe as it really needs to be – in the wild, he said.
Not least because there is now so much data and information "in the wild" that it is less likely that much specific information can easily be harvested, Conaway suggested.
Keeping everything completely secure would be expensive and extremely time-consuming – not least as security threats continue to evolve. A tiered approach to security, on the other hand, would enable organisations to balance risk against opportunity, he said.
Meanwhile, organisations that do not move today to at least think about their approach to BYOD are likely to be among the list of also-rans and failed companies in years to come.
That is according to another Ovum BYOX speaker, Adrian Drury, an analyst on the consumer impact team at Ovum.
Drury told delegates at the event that BYO is an organisational mega-trend that companies of all sizes must not ignore because, even if you do ignore it, end users still bring in their own devices and use them on the corporate infrastructure whether they have been formally permitted to do so or not.
Furthermore, one of the main reasons staff are doing BYOD is to make themselves more productive and efficient at work. They get frustrated by IT that does not do what it is meant to do.
IT departments that remain seemingly stuck in older ways of working, where the worker is heavily controlled and restricted in terms of devices, apps and processes, do not help.
"You should assume there is a lot of BYOD activity in your business that you simply do not know about. And if you take a King Canute-type of approach, you will drive it underground and lose control," Drury said.
"Because IT is not providing these tools today, they [employees] are going out and sourcing their own apps to use instead, and IT needs to respond to that really, really quickly."
Thomas Davies, UK and Ireland country manager at Google Enterprise, also gave a presentation. He said organisations that insisted on working the old way would increasingly fall behind more adaptable firms and therefore eventually fail.
"Look at Blockbuster, Netflix and Lovefilm. The latter businesses have two completely different models but ate the lunch of Blockbuster," Davies said.
For more on the evolving enterprise landscape and the mobility driver in particular, see CRN's 17 June issue.
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