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How to become a BYOD guru

Five resource areas to help you master the technical, legal and security ramifications of BYOD

By , Network World
July 16, 2012 12:37 PM ET

Network World - The University of Connecticut's Business School in Storrs has been a solid believer in "bring your own device" since the year 2000. However, a few wrong turns, including focusing on supporting devices versus the application environment, made the IT team rethink its approach.

"We were out in front of the BYOD movement so there weren't as many resources available as there are today to become a BYOD guru," says Jeremy Pollack, director of IT at the Business School. "In some ways, I wish we were just starting out now so we could have benefited from all the information out there."

CHECK IT OUT: Example BYOD user policies

Gartner recently announced that BYOD is a top enterprise mobile security concern among global companies, many of which already provide technical support for personal devices, including employee-owned smartphones (supported by 32% of the enterprises surveyed), tablets (37%) and laptops (44%). "Gartner believes that BYOD is an inevitable requirement and recommends that a mobility strategy team should be established as part of the IT department for data management and control," the research firm stated.

Before you start to gather up the troops, consider your training options. We've identified five key resource options that can help you master the technical, legal and security ramifications of BYOD and maintain a pipeline of information once you've rolled out your own program.

1. Engage peers via discussion groups.

No one knows BYOD better than IT leaders who have already ventured into these waters. Drop into any discussion group on the topic of mobile security or mobile device management and you're bound to glimpse back-and-forth about BYOD. For instance, net management vendor Spiceworks and ISACA, a nonprofit association of IT governance professionals, feature communities that regularly tackle the topic of BYOD.

Pollack engages his peers through his vendor, VMware. As a user of the VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure, he asks and answers questions in the product forums.

LinkedIn and other social media sites enable IT leaders to broach the BYOD topic openly with their peers in a controlled environment, according to Randy Gross, CIO of CompTIA, a nonprofit association focused on IT education and certifications. "With BYOD, there is something new coming out every day, so it's good to be able to reach out and bounce ideas off of other folks in the industry," he says.

2. Find help at industry conferences.

In 2012, the RSA Conference for the first time added a half-day mobile security track and, according to Program Committee Chairman Hugh Thompson, "had lines out the door." BYOD permeated almost every session's discussion, including how to deal with mobile malware, e-discovery and seizure of an employee's personal device. Due to attendees' piqued interest, the mobile security track is being expanded to a full day for RSA Conference 2013 and will closely address BYOD in the enterprise.

In addition to hearing vendors and industry leaders speak, conferences give IT the opportunity to network with peers during breaks and birds-of-a-feather sessions. If you can't get away from the office, most conferences offer online access to streaming or recorded sessions that can be equally valuable.

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