Increasingly, IT management is called on to provide support for employees own devices. Recent Gartner research suggests that the average number of  workers using their own laptops as their primary work PC grew from 10% in 2009 to 14% by the middle of 2010. This ‘BYOC’ trend is driven by increased productivity, enhanced job satisfaction and cost-efficiency.

IT remains reluctant. When it comes to implementing BYOC, IT managers’  most urgent concerns relate to fear of data loss or leakage, compliancy rules and, last but not least, dirty PC’s – ater all, according to Microsoft research, around 35% of all consumer PCs have botnets running. IT administrators, on the other hand, worry about the potential increase in helpdesk calls. To complicate matters even further, end users are not happy for their devices to be modified in the interests of corporate use. Supporting employee-owned devices is nothing if not challenging.

What’s required. The benefits are clear but to encourage BYOC, we need a desktop environment that meets at least the following requirements.

  • IT service delivery to unmanaged devices. In other words, to devices outside IT’s sphere of control.
  • Secure data access and storage. To prevent data leakage, we need to ensure that unauthorised people or processes cannot access corporate data on the network or personal device.
  • Context awareness. To provide the right services the right way and to forestall unauthorised events, we need to be aware of the user context during the delivery of IT services.
  • Self-service tooling. Workers using their own device don’t want to be reliant on the IT helpdesk. They expect to be able to use self-service to solve any problems.
  • Remote application management. Because of license regulations and security issues, we need to be able to block applications running on laptops that have been stolen or belong to employees who have let a company.

Option 1: Hypervisors + Scense. One of the most promising options for successful BYOC is the use of hypervisors. These allow multiple virtual machines to run in parallel with limited risk of security breaches. Virtual machines can be encrypted, thus preventing leakage of sensitive data. Add Scense User Workspace Management to manage the virtual machine and you also get support for context awareness, self service tooling and remote application management. The result is a solution that’s fully it for a BYOC environment.

Option 2: Just Scense. This is a  better option if you think your employees or their devices are not yet ready for a hypervisor, if you’re not prepared to implement an infrastructure for virtual machines or if you simply don’t want to buy and manage another OS but prefer to  leverage that on your employees’ laptops. Simply use the Scense client to deliver IT services to the employee’s device. Implementing secure data access and storage is not as easy or  as strict as with a hypervisor, but  employees can use IT services on their own devices without high initial IT investment or any hassle. And the savings are all yours.

Either way, Scense is the way to go. The concept of BYOC has a bright future. For IT managers, it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ they implement the necessary infrastructure. Scense User Workspace Management is already being used successfully to do this within major educational institutions, delivering applications and services to students’ laptops, giving the students the lexibility they want and creating substantial savings for IT