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Thursday, July 26, 2012
Guest post by Warren Mondschein
Scene: Curtains rise and we see a cluttered office, overflowing with piles of papers, pens, and folders. Amidst the debris, the top of a bald head can be seen rising above a teetering pile of paper, sitting in front of a double monitor computer screen. A dog's barking can faintly be heard in the background. Somewhere, a baby is crying. Kevin Komiega, PR Manager, appears at the door.
Kevin: Hey Warren (looking up from reading a 53 page license agreement), do you think you could guest write a blog for our website on BYOD?
Warren: BYOB? Sure, why not, I love that policy.
Kevin: (disappearing from the door) Thanks.
Warren: Do you want me to focus on anything in particular, beer, or just generally?
Kevin: (no reply, he is long gone)
The Benefits of BYOB: Why I love it so.
For some reason, Red Bank, NJ and many of the surrounding towns have arcane liquor laws that limit the number of liquor licenses available to local restaurants. My sense is that less than half of restaurants are able to serve any alcohol at all. I have never been interested enough to understand why this is the case, but I do know what it means whenever I go out to dinner with my wife or friends, we need to BYOB. Funny, in college (and dare I say high school), BYOB stood for "bring your own beer". I find that as I have matured, so too have my tastes, so now that last "B" is booze (usually wine) and not beer. That is, until they come up with a word for tequila that starts with "B". Which, if that happens, BYOB may just stand for bring your own bed.
While not always convenient, and downright disappointing if you forget to bring a bottle, BYOB is fantastic for a lot of reasons. First, I get to drink what I want, and I don't have to worry about whether they have my favorite Merlot (hah, just joking, nobody has a favorite Merlot, but you get the point). Second, I don't have to pay $80 for a bottle I know only costs $30. And, if we do happen to forget to bring a bottle with us, most of the restaurants that have a BYOB policy also arrange for delivery from a local liquor store. To me, this is a win-win situation, restaurants don't have to deal with the costs and liability of obtaining their own liquor licenses or maintaining an inventory of wines, and I get to drink what I want without overpaying.
In fact, the only people who…
[fade to black]
Scene: Back in the cluttered office, a dank smell, equal parts locker room, old books and a half-eaten bacon and egg sandwich, wafts through the air. That dog is still barking in the distance. A phone rings….
Kevin: Warren, wtf is this?
Warren: Draft blog, why?
Kevin: About tequila? We need a BYOD policy blog, "bring your own device".
Warren: No, you said BYOB. Why would I want to write about devices?
Kevin: CommVault, remember? Software, big data, single underlying code base?
Warren: Then forget it, I don't want to write one.
Kevin: But we already tweeted that you would.
Warren: (hangs up)
The Benefits of BYOD: Why I hate it so.
Some of my colleagues, like Liem Nguyen, argue that BYOD is a cheaper, safer alternative to managing corporate supplied communications devices. The fact is that BYOD can expose companies to greater risk and higher administrative costs than they would face otherwise.
I seem to recall that Southwest Airlines only flies Boeing 737s, so they only have to train/hire mechanics that can fix 1 plane, and they only have to stock spare parts for 1 plane. With BYOD, an IT organization has to support and maintain a myriad of devices, including the Acme 52XD-1000 tablet that only sold 4 devices in the week it was available, 1 of which is used by that crazy guy in the marketing group who walks around with a teddy-bear all the time. Should my IT department have an obligation to support that device, to waste their time trying to figure out why his email won't work? Should I expose my company's data to a device that cannot be remotely wiped clean if it is lost (I can't tell you how many times I have had an entirely pleasant conversation with that teddy-bear left sitting on one of the men's room urinals.)
And the $64,000 question, why? Why do companies consider BYOD policies? To make employees happy, so they can tweet and watch YouTube videos during the day? If that was the case, companies should just support Apple products and be comfortable that 80% of their employees are going to be okay with that. And, since when is employee happiness by itself sufficient justification to increase risk and costs? Let them eat cake. Is it to increase productivity? I bet if BYOD was not permitted, people would still respond to emails at night or on the road using the company issued device. Certainly, no IT departments are asking for this burden. Or legal departments. Or finance.
Seems to me like a lot of companies are afraid to say no to their employees (CommVault included). As with Veruca Salt (the "I want an oompa-loompa now" girl, not the band), I think perhaps some structure and discipline should be re-introduced into the relationship. Failing that, here are a few things to consider when supporting BYOD:
BYOD is a new policy at CommVault and we are working through issues as we go along. And until someone says "no", I'll still carry my iPad to meetings; after all, who doesn't love BYOD.
Now what about that auto-signature that says "Please excuse typos, this email was sent from my mobile device." I hope everyone is as infuriated by that as I am. We can discuss that in my next blog post.
Warren Mondschein is Vice President and General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer for CommVault.
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