Justin Pirie, Director of Content and Communities, Mimecast was asked for his opinions regarding organisations new dilemma – BYOD…
From a personal perspective, I think that BYOD is becoming more and more important to the individual. The device someone chooses- like their clothes - represents an important facet of their life. The way it makes them feel and how productive they feel using it is critical to employee happiness. We don't make office workers wear uniforms, why should we make them use a uniform computer? Having the computer I'm happiest with makes me a happier, more efficient worker- like the Forrester research shows.
However companies need to make sure they have the facilities to support the "right" behaviour with the proliferation of devices. This has to mean that the "right" behaviour also becomes the “easiest” behaviour.
This is easier said than done, however, and at Mimecast we're working on solving some of those problems. We believe it is critical that the IT department shifts from being the provider of IT to becoming instead the custodian of the corporate data and securing access. At the moment we help organisations secure and manage their email, enabling end users to access it securely from all their devices- including iPhone and BlackBerry, and soon Windows Phone and Android. We need to put data into the hands of the user on the device they want but in a secure, compliant way.
A great example is our iPhone app, which enables me to search my email archive, up to 10 years back, on my iPhone, so the data is in my fingertips when I need it- but not left unsecured or at risk on the device.
And in terms of attracting talent- it's becoming increasingly important. Since I joined 2 years ago- we've doubled in size. We hired 24 people last month and currently have 74 open job positions. People are the key to our success and if we want to hire the best and brightest we need to give them the tools they want and make them the most productive. The best people choose jobs and if we're competing with the best companies in the world we need to provide them with the environment they want.
We actually did some research earlier last year named "Generation Gmail" which found a vast number of people send work emails via personal accounts, for the under 25's its 85% (page 3): http://www.mimecast.com/Documents/Analyst%20Reports/generationGmailUK.pdf?level=4
There is a darker side too, not providing the tools that users need to make them feel productive and happy could mean they use personal email for work purposes, like our Generation Gmail report showed.
Michael Gove was caught conducting official business on his personal email account in September http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14981940
The ICO have updated their guidance about personal email- http://www.bespacific.com/mt/archives/029026.html and I blogged about it here: http://blog.mimecast.com/2012/02/2012-year-of-byod-but-how-do-you-ensure-everyone-is-happy/
Even worse, the recent anonymous hack on the FBI / UK police phone call discussing them could have been because a participant used their personal email according to TechWeek Europe: http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/anonymous-posts-security-call-between-fbi-and-uk-e-crimes-unit-58708
So like all technological progress, it doesn't come without downsides, but the upsides are dramatic if IT organisations can embrace it and make the right behaviour the easiest and most productive.