Companies both large and small often allow employees to bring in their own technology devices whenever it facilitates accomplishing work. These most commonly include thumb drives, laptops, and tablets. Generally speaking, BYOD (bring your own device) can be a great idea, especially with the mind-numbing speed of IT development. Why not allow employees to use their personal technology in service to the company, especially when they are already familiar with it, and in many cases, it is faster and more reliable than the company-issued technology?
BYOD does create some risks for the company. If employees are not attentive to safe computing with their own devices, the potential exists for the company system to become infected with malware. Employees can end up with large amounts of company data cluttering up their personal devices. In the worst case, employees could accidentally compromise or intentionally steal proprietary data.
Foreseeing this kind of challenge, Microsoft included a brilliant feature, Windows To Go, within its Windows 8 Enterprise operating system. Tony Bradley explains the elegant essence of how Windows To Go works (For a Bring-Your-Own-Device World, Use Windows To Go PC World, March 2013, p. 32):
Windows To Go is an awesome tool for BYOD because it enables a complete, managed Windows 8 desktop to be booted from a USB thumb drive or external hard drive. The employee can bring in pretty much any laptop hardware he or she chooses, and boot up simply by using the company-issued Windows To Go. While at work, employees can use the safe, secure Windows 8 environment that the organization supplies. When they shut down and leave, their laptop is exactly as it was before they went to work. Windows To Go takes away most of the drawbacks associated with BYOD.
As with any Windows feature, you have to remember this is only available with the Enterprise version of Windows 8 and it is not compatible with every device out there. Proper attention must be given to technical and product specifications.
One last point I do not want anyone to miss: Per several of my prior blog posts (Blog.reliableinsights.com, 1/30/13, 12/7/12, 10/16/12), I do not recommend Windows 8 for laptops and desktops, although it seems it will work well with smartphones and tablets. I strongly maintain laptop and desktop users are far better served using Windows 7. Nevertheless, in this very specific situation involving BYOD and a Windows 8 Enterprise OS, I agree with Microsofts innovative solution.
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