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Report: Rising BYOD Trend To Bring Increased IT Costs

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon likely will increase IT support costs for organizations that try to secure and manage mobile devices.

A report published this month by Osterman Research found that the need to manage smartphones that are either provided by the employee or by the company is requiring increases in IT support staff. Per its survey, Osterman Research found that it took a median of 2.9 staff members to manage 1,000 smartphone users in 2011. However, this year it now takes 3.6 staff members to do the same work, and that number will expand to 4.0 staff members by 2013, the research firm predicted.

The report, "Mobile Devices in the Enterprise: MDM Usage and Adoption Trends," was sponsored by Azaleos Corp., which provides managed communications solutions to organizations, including mobile device management (MDM) solutions. The full report is available at Azaleos' Web site here. Osterman Research polled 117 organizations in February, collecting data from a mean of 7,720 employees and 7,650 e-mail users.

Most of the survey participants (78 percent) indicated that they had Microsoft Exchange deployed in their organizations. Just one percent said they used Microsoft's services for mobile e-mail support, such as Business Productivity Online Services or Office 365.

The most frequently deployed MDM solution among survey participants was the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (53 percent), followed by "other vendors" (24 percent), with Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager in third place (22 percent). Despite those findings, use of RIM's BlackBerry mobile devices has been on the decline in organizations, while demand for Apple iPhones has been rising, according to the report. RIM has added management support for Apple and Android devices in its new BlackBerry Mobile Fusion server product.

The report estimated that there are about 80 mobile device management solutions available, with solutions from AirWatch, BoxTone, Fiberlink, Good, HP, MobileIron, Notify, Sybase, Visage and Zenprise, among others. However, when participants were asked which mobile device management solution they'd switch to, the top choices were solutions from BES and Microsoft, according to the report.

Some organizations are just using the management capabilities that come with Microsoft Exchange. The survey found 29 percent of respondents claiming that it is "good enough." However, among the respondents saying that they want to switch out their current mobile device management solution, 36 percent said that Exchange doesn't have the requisite policies they need.

This potential management gap is an area where the study's sponsor, Azaleos, wants to offer a helping hand. The company today launched a new Managed MDM Services offering that is managed by Azaleos but available via private cloud or public cloud deployments. It's a 24x7 monitoring service that uses AirWatch's technology. Azaleos also offers a management service for BlackBerry Enterprise Server that has been enhanced to support the newer BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product.

Azaleos' Mobile MDM service costs $5 per user per month and offers support for device configuration, monitoring and management, as well as measures to address lost and noncompliant devices. It works with "leading device platforms," including Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Osterman's report sees BYOD smartphone support in organizations as a future growth trend. Its survey found BYOD support to be at 32 percent in North American organizations last year. That number is expected to grow to 41 percent this year, but by 2013 it will hit 50 percent, according to the report.

A late 2011 global survey conducted by Gartner was even more bullish about the BYOD trend. It found that "90 percent of enterprises have already deployed mobile devices." The Gartner report noted that BYOD demand is greater in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries. Slower BYOD support in non-BRIC countries was associated with compliance concerns over security and privacy regulations in those countries.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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