Business ideas for 2014: Independent BYOD consultant

Business leaders are increasingly seeking out experts to help them navigate this developing trend, opening a new window of opportunity for budding IT entrepreneurs…

A policy which allows employees to access company networks and applications via their personal devices, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has already made in-roads in the business world as companies face growing demands from their workforce.

Coupled with the growth in remote and flexible working, the rising tide for BYOD suggests that in 2014 more businesses will be turning to IT professionals to help them understand the implications of this trend. Therefore, we see an independent BYOD consultant as a great business to start.

Starting an independent BYOD consultant business: Why it’s a good business idea

Companies of all sizes are looking into BYOD, not just because of employee demand, but from a cost saving perspective as a means to reduce technology spend.

However, as a fairly new concept, many businesses are unfamiliar with the security risks of BYOD and there is a gap in the market for those with IT expertise to help businesses identify these risks and formulate a BYOD strategy to protect their offering.

It’s not just employees who are backing BYOD; the growth of this trend has been fuelled by the rapid developments in tablet computers and smartphones.

Companies across industries and sectors are finding new uses for portable screens and tablets making BYOD a popular choice.

Over the coming year BYOD is going to become an unavoidable reality and more businesses are likely to embrace this strategy in line with IT consumerisation. With some experts criticising BYOD as “Bring Your Own Disaster”, independent BYOD consultants are fast becoming a necessity to support business leaders and enable them to put the right plans in place.

Independent BYOD consultant business opportunities

The IT support industry is an extremely crowded market and highly competitive, but BYOD offers a niche to make your proposition stand out.

The central role of a BYOD consultant is to advise companies on a BYOD policy and this would involve helping businesses to create a policy document regarding IT access, security and file encryption, which all of the companies’ staff members would have access to.

BYOD allows the transfer of confidential business information onto personal devices so although you don’t necessarily have to have qualifications or a degree to be a successful consultant, your skill set should lend itself to helping businesses minimise potential security threats.

It is also predicted that as BYOD becomes more common we will see an increase in the development of malicious software targeted at personal devices that use BYOD, so you will need to remain up to date with any changes to malware and virus software. You will also need to understand storage capacity and how this effects business infrastructure across devices as there may be privacy issues if a device is lost or stolen.

Start-up costs for any IT consultancy are relatively low but it is essential you create a good website to showcase your offering. The best way to build a successful business as a BYOD consultant is to establish a solid reputation based on the quality and value of your service so you will primarily need to convince clients that you have a high level of knowledge of the marketplace.

There are a range of resources and industry bodies which provide information and support catered towards IT professionals and consultants. Sites such as ITIL (the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) offer a framework for identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to businesses, and leading organisations such as the Chartered Institute for IT provide a range of certifications if you want to develop your IT and BYOD credentials.

Who else has started an independent BYOD consultant business?

As yet, there are only a few specialist BYOD consultants operating in the market but several IT consultants and collaboration experts have expanded their services into this area.

BYOD is predicted to rise in popularity over the coming year and with more companies now deciding upon their policy stance, 2014 is a great time for those with IT know-how to step in.

Paul Steiner, managing director, EMEA from Accelion:

“The BYOD trend has changed the way that companies need to invest in security. Managing a device that is not owned by the corporation is a waste of money. Organisations need to focus on confidential content, and ensuring that it’s secure no matter what device is accessing it.

“They need to ensure that the correct encryption and access protocols are in place, and that acceptable apps are whitelisted, while insecure ones are blacklisted. Because employees often now have multiple devices, security measures need to be flexible enough to cover any device that is chosen, and be a seamless experience, or shadow IT will rear its ugly head again.

“Security mustn’t be cast aside by enterprises in their quest for an improved user experience. To make a truly innovative enterprise app, companies need to take their established security roots and overlay it with next-gen design.”

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