Facebook Home: The Newest BYOD Headache for IT?

Since it hasn't yet been released it's hard to say just how popular Facebook Home will become. But if it takes off, it will likely just add to the BYOD headaches that enterprise IT departments get when their users embrace consumer-grade services in a corporate environment.

The big difference that I see in regards to Facebook Home, as opposed to, say, an online storage app, is the idea that Home will take over the main screen on an Android device, and try to funnel communications through a Facebook connection. Though it seems uniquely consumer-directed, we all know that so-called "consumer apps" are popping up everywhere in the corporate world. In fact, I think going forward it's going to be very hard to differentiate between what is a "consumer app" and what is something that will be used by workers everywhere because it allows them to communicate and collaborate better and faster.

By moving into the same kind of turf normally held by operating systems, Facebook Home is going to create unique headaches because of its (apparent) role as a sort of "master app," something that screens all other kinds of communications. Unlike blocking single apps, if enterprise IT tries to block Facebook Home use it could theoretically keep employees from doing anything work-related on their phones at all. So then those companies either move back to the stone ages of having two devices, or figure out how to live with Facebook Home and all the security questions it introduces.

Corporations are already struggling with how far they want to reach into their employees' Facebook personas -- though I have to think that enterprises may have valid reasons for wanting to know what employees are doing on Facebook, given the network's ability to easily share rich media which could contain sensitive company information. Facebook Home, I believe, introduces a whole new level of concern since it seems that Facebook will now have access or the ability to track all kinds of communications that go through Home. Hence the new headache prediction for enterprise IT.

My own feeling is that Facebook Home will not really be that popular, since I don't think it is the answer to any kind of problem people have with mobile devices today. It is more of a good thing for Facebook than it is a good thing for users, and those kinds of "advancements" hardly ever succeed. On the other hand, Facebook has billions of users so maybe Home will take off by default. If it does, you can be assured there will be people using it who also use their phones for work. Welcome, enterprise IT, to yet another thing for your already full to-do plate.

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