IT is about to go through yet another cataclysmic change. We’re about to enter the era of “bring your own device”. Most of today’s “IT best practices” are obsolete and based on assumptions made in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s:
- The company has to provide computers to end users.
Providing employees computers was the right move when a computer cost $2,500 in 1998 ($3327 adjusted for inflation). Today computers cost as little as $300 and applications can be accessed over the internet eliminating the need to store data locally.
- The company has to provide the network that people use to access their work.
Free WiFi, cheap home broadband, web based applications and VPNs have obsoleted the idea that the company has to have it’s own 100% private data network. Now, the high speed connection is the easy part. The hard part is picking how you want to secure the connection – VPN, TLS or SSL.
- Security requires iron fisted control of user PCs.
If banks can allow people to access their accounts, make payments, and transfer money online without having any control of the user’s computer whatsoever, why does your IT department have to have iron fisted control of what goes on the computer? Here’s the answer: your company’s software is obsolete and so insecure that you have to spend more than the computer is worth just to secure it.
In short, you don’t have to provide a computer, a network or have iron fisted control of your employees computers. Blasphemy you say? Not so fast.
It costs $28 per month for a ChromeBook and broadband connection from Verizon.
According to Microsoft, it costs your company over $4,500 per year (that’s about $375 per month) to provide computers to everyone.
Now that we’ve established that the old way is stupidly expensive, here’s another fact:
Increasingly, people don’t want to use a Windows device. Mac Sales are up. Linux use is up.
In fact people don’t want your company issued laptop. Why?
The average company issued laptop runs on 10 year old software — Windows XP (54% of coroproate laptops), is severely locked down, and is often used to spy on the user, meaning that they cannot use the laptop for anything other than work without potentially losing their jobs.
So what’s this mean? It means the smart money is on getting ready for people to start bringing their own computers to work. It’s already happening. My money’s on most of your employees having their own non-company issued smartphone in their pocket or an iPad in their briefcase already. And those smartphones don’t need your network, your control freak IT policy or your network. They navigate right around it.