For a technology movement with such prevalence and momentum, BYOD is a fairly new concept. Perhaps that's why there are so many misconceptions around the subject, both among vendors and their customers. And VARs must be careful to think critically about any BYOD sales advice they receive, because some of that is ill-informed, too. We've heard plenty of bad BYOD sales advice. Here's the worst:
"BYOD is about the devices. Once employees have their choice of device, security becomes their responsibility. Focus on the devices themselves."
Let's take a look at why that's bad advice.
It's simply untrue.
BYOD isn't just about the devices themselves. Yes, that's what the end user perceives, but from the enterprise's perspective, a secure, reliable BYOD implementation will most likely involve at least some alterations to their existing data center and/or wireless infrastructure.
Those infrastructure improvements are where the real opportunity lies.
End user devices are one thing. But if VARs stop at the devices themselves, they're missing out on the chance to sell any of the following:
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to secure individual devices and remotely wipe them in the event of loss or theft
- Network Access Control (NAC) appliances to ensure that only authorized personnel can connect their devices to corporate networks
- Encryption and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions to secure corporate data as employees access and transmit it across unsecured networks and the public WAN
- Antivirus and malware protection software to protect employee devices from potentially data-stealing or disruptive attacks
- Wireless infrastructure upgrades to ensure that employees have reliable Wi-Fi access for their personal devices on corporate premises—BYOD tends to cause a proliferation of devices on corporate networks
- Visibility and monitoring solutions (or services!) to provide continuous assurance that employees are in compliance
As you can see, BYOD presents far greater opportunities to VARs than that bad BYOD sales advice suggests.
BYOD security is an industry in itself
Take a look at the above list. While by no means complete, it touches on some of the most important elements of a secure and successful BYOD rollout, and "secure" is the operative word here. Bad BYOD sales advice like the "tip" we reference in this blog post assume that security and BYOD are separate altogether, or, even worse, assume that the employee is responsible for data security in a BYOD environment.
That is, unfortunately, untrue. In the event of a data breach or inadvertent disclosure, the company that owns the data will be held liable, no matter what their BYOD or security policy. That's why enterprises put so much emphasis on BYOD security, and why VARs should, too. If you're a VAR with existing information security expertise, you're already well on your way to dominating the BYOD market. If you aren't, now's the time to turn to your distributor for the training and resources to fill the gaps in your knowledge.
BYOD sales advice can be helpful, but take it with a grain of salt. Bad BYOD sales advice—like advice that recommends ignoring one of the most critical parts of a BYOD implementation—can severely hurt your sales and success.
What bad BYOD sales advice have you heard? Tell us about it in the comments.