If you've been reading the forecasts, then you know that Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is gaining momentum. The convenience, cost savings, and potential increase in both productivity and job satisfaction are significant benefits. BYOD isn't as simple as canceling the corporate Blackberries and cutting employees loose to choose their own devices, however. Here are 10 industries most in need of a BYOD VAR to guide them through the process, from developing a strong BYOD policy to implementing the network and security infrastructure needed to support BYOD.
1. Financial Services
A multitude of data privacy and security regulations complicate the IT landscape for financial services firms. Noncompliance carries severe consequences, so regulatory concerns are unavoidable. The security risks of BYOD can frighten banks, lenders, and other financial services forms away from BYOD without the guidance of a knowledgeable BYOD VAR.
Like financial services companies, healthcare organizations must operate in compliance with numerous data privacy and security regulations, such as HIPAA. Compliance is vital, and healthcare organizations often have concerns around issues such as data encryption and access control.
While it may seem an odd fit, BYOD has even penetrated the manufacturing sector, according to CXOtoday. Workers are increasingly using their own mobile devices "to monitor and control industrial equipment." The stakes are high in manufacturing environments, making wireless LAN coverage and reliability absolutely critical. Strong security measures and network access control are also vital.
Most attorneys are better-versed in the legal implications and confidentiality risks of BYOD. The process of legal discovery these days often includes the seizure of personal devices like smartphones and tablets and incurs the risk of inadvertently exposing sensitive information.
Retail has jumped on the BYOD bandwagon as well. Mobile devices in general have been appearing in retail for over a decade, TechRepublic points out, and have slowly made their way from the warehouse to the sales floor. Retail has several key challenges a BYOD VAR can address, ranging from wireless network optimization to PCI compliance for sales transactions.
All politics aside, budget concerns are often an issue at educational institutions. This may make BYOD particularly attractive to these organizations, but BYOD requires some specific pieces of support infrastructure to secure it and ensure performance. Schools need a BYOD VAR who can work with their IT decision-makers to create solid policy and infrastructure at reasonable cost.
7. Software Development
As might be expected, the tech-savvy workforce of the software development industry is often eager to adopt BYOD. Software development has its own data privacy concerns, however, often around intellectual property and R&D. A BYOD VAR familiar with these concerns can ensure a successful BYOD rollout.
8. Real Estate
The nature of their work means that real estate agents, brokers, and developers are often on the road rather than in the office. BYOD can help them stay connected as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Regulatory and privacy concerns are a challenge, however.
9. News Media
Though the industries are different, the news media experiences many of the same needs as real estate: an on-the-go workforce with a need for secure and reliable connectivity to the home office. BYOD VARs with ties to local, regional, or national news media outlets can benefit from helping these customers optimize their networks for their increasingly mobile and bandwidth-greedy workforce.
10. Professional Services
Like both real estate workers and journalists, business consultants are both highly mobile and in need of safe, reliable ways to handle sensitive client information. They're also knowledgeable about the benefits of increased efficiency and reduced cost, making them a near-perfect fit for a security-savvy BYOD VAR.
This diverse list of industries in need of a trustworthy BYOD VAR should show you just how broad the market has become. A case could be made for BYOD in nearly any vertical. And though every vertical has its own particular challenges and concerns, the BYOD market these days has come a long way in developing solutions to those concerns. VARs can go a step farther by innovating their own custom solutions.
What industries are you looking to enter as a BYOD VAR? Let us know your experiences in the comments.