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A bad experience with a Trojan virus drives home BYOD benefits

Mondays have a reputation for being the least favorite day of the week for many people. Normally I disagree with that feeling, but this Monday at 9 a.m., my laptop started acting a little hinky. I knew something was up, but then 10 minutes later, Windows warned me that it had blocked some strange ISP traffic. Yep, I’d been hit by a Trojan.

Because I’m remote and didn’t want to involve the help desk unless I had to, I spent a day running antivirus software, then another day playing phone tag with the help desk, all the while I was rebooting again and again and again. Whatever demon got hold of my machine was very, very good, because even after a clean scan and blessing from my antivirus software, the system would continue misbehaving. It was clearly time to hand the machine over to our tech support folks. Slight problem: I’m in Wisconsin and they’re in California.

While my machine is in the shop, I’m living the Bring Your Own Device dream. I’m an incognito Apple fan girl and while I always thought the BYOD ideal was preferable, I’m now seeing how difficult it is to manage while I try to re-create my work environment on my Mac. Some programs aren’t playing nice together– some processes won’t even speak to each other, which I’m still trying to figure out – but overall, I am adapting to this process a lot faster than I would a loaner machine simply because it feels like home.

In an ideal BYOD shop, I could have just plucked from a menu of apps and data governed by IT, installed them myself regardless of OS and gone on my merry way. Mick Hollison of Citrix Synergy advocates the BYOD model, calling it “people-centric computing.” He feels it drives employee satisfaction while enabling IT to have a more strategic focus, freeing the help desk from having to, say, support three-month-old laptops that are infected with mega Trojans like mine. Citrix doesn’t even have to deal with purchasing: They just give employees a stipend and say, “Go buy yourself a little something.”

The stereotypical response from Mac fans is that if my work laptop had been my choice of a MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t have gotten a Trojan because Macs aren’t targeted by these programs, but that is not entirely true. However, I have to admit that rather than playing phone tag with the help desk, I probably would have just gone down to the Apple store that’s less than a mile from my house.

Sure, same end result whether it’s a BYOD or not: Someone else has to fix my problem. And while I can’t say that it would have been resolved faster with a BYOD paradigm, I know for a fact that my laptop won’t even be in California until next week. If I had the power as a user to self-support my own device, it would have been in a tech’s hands on Monday by 10 a.m. From where I’m sitting, that’s a pretty huge argument for BYOD.

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