The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is, at this point, no spring chicken. The term was coined in 2009 and many vendors have sprung up over the years to help all sizes of business support their BYOD strategies. However, according to IDC Canada research, only 41 per cent of Canadian organization have adopted BYOD policies of some sort. That leaves plenty of opportunity for channel partners.
According to Michael Murphy, vice president and country manager of Citrix Canada, BYOD adoption in Canada has lagged behind other countries. Part of the problem is the perception that BYOD creates security risks, but Murphy noted they’re risks that have already been alleviated through mobile device and application security technologies.
“Adoption or implementation of this BYOD trend hasn’t got the same traction in Canada as elsewhere, although I think the major barrier is concerns around security. That is creating this kind of slow approach, making sure that problem is solved,” Murphy said.
One issue many Canadian businesses are struggling with is device ownership and what that means to both data and device security. Murphy noted that enterprise mobile management (EMM) tools solve those problems by enforcing policies. He added that Citrix’s own XenMobile product provides a set of pre-configured mobile policies that can be used as a baseline for creating corporate policies. Murphy cautions enterprises not to just use the default pre-configured policies without tailoring them to their own needs first, though.
EMM and mobile device management (MDM) technology has come a long way in the years since the BYOD term first appeared. Organizations can more easily use EMM tools to lock down functions like using the camera and taking screenshots to make it more difficult to remove corporate data from devices, no matter whether it’s owned by the company or the individual.
Partners can capitalize on the ongoing BYOD trend through point sales and ongoing managed services related to EMM and MDM, but Murphy had another recommendation for channel partners looking to grow their BYOD-related businesses.
“They can obviously provide the products, the tools and technologies, but partners can help customers develop policies,” Murphy said.
It puts partners in a consulting and advisory role rather than a product sales role. And it’s a good role to be in. A good mobility strategy with appropriate policies in better enable Canadian businesses to adopt BYOD initiatives with less fear. Partners can play a key role in helping Canadian businesses make the leap to BYOD and other EMM/MDM initiatives.
According to Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, there are significant opportunities for channel partners in the BYOD space. It all depends on their own unique skill sets. With appropriate training and certifications, partners can implement EMM and MDM solutions that enable control over corporate- and employee-owned devices while also maintaining a high level of security.
Partners that do application development may have additional opportunities ahead of them.
“Channel partners with experience in developing custom business apps may also find a way to leverage those skills in BYOD and MDM scenarios that focus on securing and managing those apps for company employees,” King said.
The benefits for the customer are many.
“There’s the company’s view of cost and expense. If a company no longer has to provide or pay for devices, the financial aspect of it for a company may have some benefit,” Murphy said. “The other benefit from an employee’s perspective is they get to choose the type of device they’re comfortable with.”
Partners can help pave the way for future BYOD initiatives in the Great White North.