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Building BYOPC Strategies

Published on 02 February 15

BYOD as a policy is something that has been discussed for some time and is a logical progression of all the business applications that exist - being able to check work email anywhere is a pretty well-regarded benefit for any organization. However, a newer evolution in this world of using what you like has shifted to BYOPC - bringing your own computer, such as a Mac, into the office. This is a bit trickier for some organizations since, unlike mobile devices, this is intended to be a primary work machine and as a result it is expected to play nicely with all office tools. Of course, there are ways to make it work if you are so inclined.

For organizations that have a lot of field workers, it is almost a non-issue - most of these employees will communicate via email and use cloud-based services to transmit and create work anyway, so BYOPC can be treated much like BYOD - provide a set of security guidelines and a VPN, and hold employees accountable for maintaining data. In general, there arenât many technical issues in using email applications and various operating systems including mobiles because these apps tend to be browser-based.

For heavy crunching in the office, such as using Adobe Photoshop, there is a bit more to it, and at this point you are looking at machines and systems that IT has managed for decades in communicating with various tools in the office. This includes copiers, phone systems, and security software that might not play as nicely with OSX or Linux environments as they do with the Windows environments that IT has deployed for most other employees. This means that IT will be severely limited in what they can support on that machine (due to lack of experience) and what needs to be done for the office might not be possible at all.

Acceptable Use Policies become an issue in these scenarios as well, as tasks that might not be kosher to the company might be something employees will want to do on their personal devices when the device is on their time. Using a cloud storage service such as DropBox, for example, might be against company policies as there might be issues with company data being stolen in-flight or through a compromised password. However, the employee might also use DropBox to send personal photos to others, and accept those risks for personal data. How can IT control what the employee sends through their personal accounts on their personal time even when company data is on the exact same machine. Itâs just about impossible.

A good solution for both of these cases is to use virtual desktops. By using a tool such as XenDesktop, virtual desktops can be created for employees to use, regardless of operating system. Not only does this get around the Mac issue, it also gives the IT team some additional benefits. Since the desktop is based on a server, losing a physical PC or device will mean next to nothing in regards to data loss, as the data was never actually lost - it is still in the server in the data center. It also means that in the case of a support ticket, IT can login to the virtual desktop and troubleshoot from anywhere, without having to access the employeeâs PC.

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