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MEAP Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Dean Madison, Elizabeth White, Nate Vickery

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How Mobile Is Making the Life of Your Sysadmin a Nightmare | @CloudExpo #Cloud

It's official - BYOD is now the mobile strategy of choice for the majority of enterprises

How Mobile's Making the Life of Your Sysadmin a Nightmare (And What You Can Do to Help)

BYOD is awesome... except for the strain it's putting on IT. It's probably giving your sysadmin migraines. We're going to talk about what you can do about that.

It's official - BYOD is now the mobile strategy of choice for the majority of enterprises. According to a comprehensive survey carried out in 2014 by the Information Security LinkedIn Group, over 60% of large organizations either tolerate or allow the use of personal devices on their network. Here's the thing about that statistic, though - allowing it isn't the same as accepting it.

Many businesses don't have a choice in the matter.

"Just because BYOD has become standard operating procedure in most workplaces, doesn't mean the practice has stopped causing challenges for IT," explains Network World's Ellen Messmer. Today's IT professionals are forced to navigate a complex landscape of legal compliance, user privacy, device management, and application deployment - all while dealing with the fact that many employees are going to use their personal choices whether they want them to or not.  BYOD has become less a deliberate choice and more a forced adaptation.

"Cloud-based apps are an employee dream and a CIO nightmare," writes Anjali Acharya of Forbes. "Employees usually turn a blind eye to security and compliance concerns, because the pressure to perform takes priority." This, she says, has led to the birth of a trend known as shadow IT - where employees take command of which applications they use in the workplace; a task traditionally left to administrators.

In order to address this problem, enterprises cannot simply look at how their IT department operates. They need the cooperation of employees - the cooperation of men and women like yourselves. But what exactly can you do?

How can you make the life of your administrators easier without sacrificing anything in efficiency?

Relationship Management vs. Device Management
One of the driving factors behind shadow IT is the fact that, many traditional IT departments don't have the best relationship with other employees. They tend to be viewed as out-of-touch geeks whose obsession with security does little save for hinder our performance. As such, when a company-approved solution doesn't work, you're far more willing to resort to some unapproved alternative.

"Employees being ‘creative' led to IT boundaries being pushed hard;" continues Acharya. "In their minds, IT competes with what Google, Apple, Facebook and the like provide."

The first step, then, is to change how you think - and then change how you relate to your administrators by doing so. You need to realize that these people are trying to do their jobs, just like you. If you're having trouble with company-approved devices, they're likely just as frustrated as you are.

Talk to IT about what you need to do your job. Treat them more as partners than as unnecessary inconveniences. That's one of the best steps you can take.

What Else Can You Do About This?
In addition to establishing a more open relationship with the technical professionals in your organization, there are a few more things you can do to make the lives of the people in your IT department a little less stressful:

  • Make An Effort To Understand Security Policies: Mobile security policies, ill-advised though some may be, exist for a reason. It's up to you to make an effort to understand the rules and regulations handed down by your business - and to speak up when you feel as though they're hindering you.
  • Pay Attention To Your Own Mobile Safety: A recent study by Norton found out that most consumers are all too willing to trade privacy and security for free apps - and that a staggering 37% don't worry at all about getting a virus on their phone. If you're using your device within your business, this attitude is unacceptable. It isn't IT's job to keep your device secure - it's yours. If that involves keeping your personal life entirely out of your professional one, then so be it.
  • Don't Try To Use Unapproved Applications: If you feel as though a corporate-mandated device or application hinders your progress, don't simply pull out your phone and start trying to find a workaround.

Mobile Security Is a Joint Effort
One of the core drivers behind BYOD is employee empowerment. Although this certainly leads to significant gains in organizational productivity, this also means that enterprises cannot institute effective changes to their security regulations without the cooperation of staff. Just as IT professionals need to consider the needs of their users, so too do the users need to stop and think about IT.

More Stories By Tim Mullahy

Tim Mullahy is the founder of Liberty Center One, an enterprise class, tier 3 data center. Liberty offers a full range of technology solutions, including fully managed, co-located, virtual, dedicated and shared hosting services.