BYOD: Good for whom exactly?

What we usually hear is that the 'bring your own device' concept brings problems for IT but is cool for users. But is it really that good an idea for them?

A lot of people love the idea of bringing their own computer, Android phone or iPad to work. This trend, called "bring your own device" (BYOD), is catching on in the corporate world. At some companies, workers are no longer provisioned with laptops and cellphones. They just bring their own and add them to the corporate network. CEOs and CFOs in particular seem to love this concept. As for IT departments, they're usually not thrilled that they have to support equipment they may not know a thing about and add new services to support a wide range of personal tech. Nevertheless, even technology giants like IBM, which is letting its 200,000 workers use their own tablets, iPhones or Android smartphones, are embracing the concept.

Hurray, right? Freedom of choice rules! Or does it? Let's think this over.

I know I'm not the average user, but I have an iPad and several Android phones and tablets. I'm self-employed, so I had to pay for them myself. I also have to pay for my Internet and 3G data services. If I worked at a company with a BYOD policy, I would still have to pay for my devices and services. At many companies, I'd also have to load the official virtual private network client and programs for e-mail.

For me, all of that is fine. My tiny business has a four-figure IT budget and I'm a technology expert. What about you? Can you afford to buy your own equipment? Pay for your Internet and phone services? Do a lot of the support work yourself?

Of course, many of you can. After all, you're reading Computerworld. You wouldn't be here if you didn't know and care about business and technology. But should you have to do those things?

Back in the '90s through the 2000s, when I worked for a company, it supplied my computers, paid for my Internet and phone and provided me with software and support. That wasn't cheap then. It's not cheap now.

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