From dictator to spectator: How BYOD is upending IT leaders

Latest batch of mobile trend research highlights BYOD fear factor

Aside from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the renowned anti-telecommuter who last year sort of got out in front of the BYOD movement by informing employees that the company would supply them all with smartphones, most IT leaders are finding themselves suddenly powerless and generally freaked out in the face of employees bringing their own devices to work.

This shift has been well documented through recent events such as a wonky Apple iOS update that mucked up Exchange servers upon synching and an onslaught of research reports, mainly the self-serving kind issued by tech product vendors.

RELATED: Merchants urged to avoid BYOD gear, jailbroken smartphones/tablets for payment processing

Among the freshest reports, dumped in my inbox Tuesday, is one from a "global scalable storage and data security company" that hired Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 500 IT decision makers in the U.S, Canada, Germany and the U.K.

The pitch had me quaking:

"Between BYOD, Consumerization of IT and Teleworking, IT decision makers have to be prepared to handle a more mobile workforce, while still maintaining the security of corporate data. Today, [we] announced survey results that reveal IT decision makers are significantly less confident in the security of data accessed by employees when they leave the office, despite the fact that mobile device security policies are widely in place and enforced...."

Another survey pitch received earlier this month warned: "The survey, which draws from the experiences of 477 IT executives worldwide, found that IT is concerned about rising mobility costs and feeling frustration and loss of control over Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The majority of survey respondents (57 percent) thought their mobile data roaming costs would rise in 2013, with eight percent saying they'll rise more than 25 percent....BYOD is creating new challenges for IT. The top two sources of frustration were onboarding and then supporting the increasing number and variety of personal devices, far outranking even security concerns."

IDC last week confirmed our suspicions that mobile devices are all the rage, documenting 1.2 billion smart connected device shipments last year, with tablets experiencing the largest year-over-year growth, up 78.4%, and smartphones shipments up 46.1%.

While these numbers don't get into BYOD, we can read between the lines.

Vendors have been doing so, and rolling out one product after another designed to help IT leaders get BYOD under control. VMware, for example, just bundled a few of its management apps into a suite designed to help administrators more easily deliver apps and data to various end-user devices. F5 this month issued a BYOD offering dubbed Mobile Application Manager.

Unless IT leaders are going to follow Mayer's lead and hand out mobile devices to everyone, it looks like they're going to need to play along with BYOD.

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