Bring Your Own Device

The world we work in is changing, the way we work is also changing. As IT professionals we need to adapt to these changes. This post looks at the implications of BYOD or bring your own device on the way we manage devices in the enterprise using ConfigMgr 2012.

The implications of BYOD are huge, it affects the way our businesses function and also puts extra pressure on us IT on how we react to this changing situation. With BYOD we are no longer in a comfort zone, we no longer have anywhere near as much control as we used to. We now have to deal with the possibility of hundreds of different devices, device which we can support and devices which we cannot.

First let’s have a look at how we even start thinking about bringing BYOD into the business. For me the first and most important step here is to decide the support model. Here is what I think is the best way to go to ensure you still allow your user community the best of BYOD but also make your management task a little simpler.

The Support Model

For the minute forget hardware, yes without hardware we can’t run any software and that does defeat the object but for a couple of minutes just ignore the fact it exists. Even in a fully managed scenario where we run a single model we only ever run a standard set of software. This is known as our software library or approved software list (among many others). From an administrative point of view yes the user needs hardware but they cannot perform their role without say Visio, Project and Office.

So think about this, what is we only support the software on the machine? The hardware is the responsibility of the employee to insure against damage and theft. Repairs to the hardware are the responsibility of the employee as well. However if they have any software issues then this is our responsibility and we will support it just like a corporate device. I find this is the easiest way to even think about bringing BYOD into the enterprise world.

Device Management

Onto device management now and how we deal with the management of the device. If you say then yes you can buy whatever laptop you want but you must have this version of Windows and this set of standard software then management is simple, really simple. You only have to think of it as a very large group of corporate hardware models.

However if you go down the path of saying we will just install the software you need but everything else is fair game, then I believe you are in for one hell of a bumpy ride. Think about it, I bring my own laptop into work, I expect to keep my admin rights for a start like I do at home, I also expect to be able to install anything else I want as well. Let’s not forget that I also want iTunes and another browser, then because it’s my own laptop I don’t want your disk encryption software installing. Say your company is 2,000 employees, times that situation by 2,000 and you are in for endless days of pain.

Configuration Manager is hardware agnostic, this is in any situation, we can deploy OS images, software, compliance settings and much more to anything with Windows on. This is much more than just managing with Configuration Manager, this includes legal aspects which should be closely monitored and investigated before you even consider BYOD.

In Summary

BYOD is a long road, a lot like a desktop refresh project, it requires thought and planning to the highest level. What is important here is that you forget about the administrator for a minute and think about this from a practical point of view. What are we going to support? How do we support this? Do we break any legal or regulatory requirements? Please, think very long and very hard about this before making any snap decisions.


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About Martyn

Martyn is one of the Senior Cloud Architects and DevOps Team Leader at one of the worlds leading Cloud Transformation Specialists Inframon. Martyn is responsible for the architecture of some of the largest Azure deployments in EMEA and is a advisor to a many businesses on their strategies. Martyn is a regular speaker at Microsoft events and community events on Azure and DevOps, giving his insight to a growing number of audiences.

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