Bring Your Own Destruction

There’s a little side bet going on between a few of us.

In 2013, two tech giants will be pitted against one another. No, not Apple and Samsung. Those are the Manchester United and Manchester City clashes. We’re talking about the Southampton and QPR clashes. The battle for survival. The clash for the wooden spoon.

RIM vs Nokia.

It’s hard to believe that not many years ago, these were the darlings of the mobile industry. Blackberries were everywhere. Nokia was the king of the crop. Now, both of them are fighting for their lives. It’s pretty sad to see it. Nokia selling off their headquarters to have money. RIM betting the farm on BB10, and seeing their stock rise a little, but still no where close to the heydays of almost tipping USD150 per share. Now Nokia just won a court ruling regarding the use of WiFi on Blackberries. The whole story can be found on the net, but basically, Nokia is just arguing about RIM having to pay them to put WiFi capability on the BB sets.

It’s like two scrawny kids fighting over a biscuit, when the two fat boys in the park had taken over their lunch sets.

Back in the heydays, Blackberries used to be the defacto enterprise mobile devices. It wasn’t that long ago. 3 – 4 years back. I remember it was the rage back then. Any executive worth his salt would be carrying one of those babies, that looked like ancient handsets with keypads so tiny that guys with fat fingers like me and Homer Simpson would spend longer time typing an SMS than Paris Hilton spends without her makeup per year. Sorry, I ran out of useless, quirky similes.

Anyway, there was a reason why BBs were so good at the enterprise. Security. And of course, Data Compression. The whole deal about running through the Blackberry enterprise server and push email, and data compression through the Blackberry Internet server? It sounds like stone age technology now, especially the global outage that caused outrage a year back….but back then everyone says it was a great idea, and that iPhone with mickey mouse security phones will not be accepted on the enterprise till the second coming….well, I just bought my mum a Hello Kitty Samsung Limited Edition and I bet my house I can take that to work right now without any question.

But of course, there comes a whole new load of pain. BYOD. Bring Your Own Device. To drinkers, this sounds fun, because BYOB has always been in their vocab. Unfortunately BYOD causes a lot more pain for the enterprise than a couple of drunken stooges after a night of partying after closing a big deal. With BYOD comes the crushing annoyance of having spent millions in securing the perimeter, only for one stubborn executive to insist on putting all the nice confidential PDFs into iBooks and then lose it in a cab. Or having taken pictures of his latest enterprise VPN password so that he can remember it, only to lose the phone in the bar. There could be a zillion permutations of how data can be lost, compromised or destroyed through the wonderful habit of human forgetfulness and carelessness.

Whether your phone is locked or not is irrelevant. It’s like saying I locked my laptop, now nobody is going to get to my data. It’s like saying, I locked my Ashton Martin. Now I’m just going to leave it at the city area where the highest crime rate for stolen cars, and the largest population of stores selling crowbars, are.

There are ways to counter BYOD issues, and we’ll explore it in further articles. But as of now, companies that ignore BYOD do so at their own peril.

Nope, BYOD is here to stay, and with the imminent death of Blackberry, the last vestige of enterprise security as we know it will go down with it. Security experts will mourn for it.

A new cadre of Hello Kitty Samsung Limited Edition smartphones with Mickey Mouse security will rise up and overwhelm the enterprise landscape. We’ve been warned.

 

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