Redmond View

Microsoft Readies for a BYOD Future

With half of employees projected to be using their own devices in the enterprise by 2017, Microsoft is taking BYOD into consideration with its next line of products.

If you think the whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is just a fad or something your IT organization will never buy into, it's time to reconsider. BYOD is here to stay and it's only going to become more pervasive in the coming years.

Half of all enterprise employees will be expected to supply their own client devices by 2017, according to a global survey of CIOs by market researcher Gartner Inc. This influx of employee-owned devices will create a veritable nightmare for IT organizations that have to manage a hodgepodge of clients ranging from Windows PCs to Macs and iOS- and Android-based devices.

This would explain why Microsoft's next wave of software and services will offer mobile device management (MDM). The forthcoming releases of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Intune will make it easier to manage employee-owned devices and control access to data and apps.

Yet, at any time, IT can cut off all access and remotely wipe all data that it owns from the employee's device without removing the user's own personal files and content.

Microsoft officials have begun describing this as "people-centric IT," but it's really just the company's latest catchphrase to describe how its next generation of datacenter software and services will allow administrators to more securely support employee-owned devices.

Some in IT management are starting to get this. According to the Gartner study, 22 percent have already made a strong business case for BYOD.

Still, many in IT management are not on board. As reported in last month's cover story, "Microsoft's Post-PC Journey," more than half (51 percent) of Redmond magazine readers don't support employee-owned PCs or Macs, while 46 percent either already do or have plans to do so. Only 4 percent said BYOD will never happen in their organizations.

I can't wait to see what those numbers look like next year.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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