With the reduction in both size and cost, mobile computing technology is becoming an accessory to our everyday wardrobe just like a watch or wallet. For many employers and employees alike, work is no longer a location but an activity that can be interlaced throughout their day.
Understanding the benefits of leveraging personal mobile devices as well as identifying the security and operational challenges is paramount to creating an effective Bring Your Own Device Strategy.
Here Are 5 Must Knows on BYOD:
1) IT must embrace this technology – It isn’t as scary as you think
With the explosion in the use of smartphones and tablets, IT organizations are being faced with a new set of challenges. In the early adoption phase of this technology many IT organizations simply turned a blind eye to these devices and made bold statements on the level of support that would be offered, if any. However, those days are over. A survey by Harris Interactive (2012) found that 81% of employees use some kind of personally owned device to conduct business. The challenge now is how?
Recent history has taught us that you either provide your mobile users with the access and applications that they need in a controlled and manageable way or they will get what they need by other methods. For this reason, progressive IT organizations are partnering with operations in order to understand mobile user requirements and developing systems and policies to meet these requirements while supporting the organizations existing security, support and procurement systems.
2) Focus your mobile device selection on the devices that are best suited for your needs
It seems like a new smartphone, tablet or specialized mobile device is announced every week, which might feel overwhelming.
Start by grouping the variety of mobile devices into categories that reflect your business requirements.
As an example:
If your business application is only available on the Windows Mobile operating system then grouping the devices by OS will allow you to quickly remove many options from consideration. Likewise, if you application is supported on multiple operating systems but the user environment is demanding and you need a ruggedized device then grouping devices by environmental considerations will enable you to quickly zero on a subset of devices. After separating the first group, repeat the process with additional groups based on additional business needs until you have identified the few specific devices that meet your needs.
3) Security Challenges can be fixed
Exposing your network, servers and business applications to the outside world invites hackers, competitors and others to wreak havoc. The most logical approach is to extend your existing security policies to this new mobile end point. But how?
Fortunately Mobile Device Management (MDM) is an expanding industry providing software tools that are designed to specifically address the security issues related to mobile devices. These tools are continually evolving in functionality and address the majority if not all of your security challenges including:
- Device lock down
- Data encryption
- Secure user access
- Wireless network policies
- Internet access
- Application installation
- Device wipe
4) Balance BYOD and personal privacy
“According to Forrester Research, 78% of enterprises are instituting BYOD programs, 70% said that improved worker productivity is the key reason for BYOD” (Motorola, Secure Access Partner Brief). With the growing number of BYOD participants, questions related to the corporation’s access of personal information continue to be asked.
The key to answering many of these questions is directly related to the capabilities of your MDM tool and the policies that are created to support your company’s BYOD program. In order to gain the greatest benefits from a program it is advised to thoroughly examine the purpose of the program and define a set of policies that ensure the business objectives while preserving each participant’s personal information.
Once you have defined your BYOD policies it is recommended that you publish a Mobility Users Policy Guide and make this available to all program participants. Think of this guide in the same manner as your Human Resource (HR) Manual in that it is the first document that an employee will reference for information related to the company’s implementation and support of mobile devices.
The good news is that MDM tools are rapidly releasing new features to address these types of concerns.
5) Be smart at supporting your BYOD Program
Mobile computing has complicated the support model not only due to the devices being able to change locations on a moment’s notice but they are also no longer deployed in clusters.
As a result, new technologies and processes need to be considered when supporting a deployment of mobile devices, such as:
- When, where and how to deploy software updates
- Remote diagnosis of mobile application issues
- Updating of security credentials
- Location of mobile assets
- Bandwidth utilization
- Remote user training
- Identification of hardware failures
Mobile device management tools (MDM) are designed to specifically meet the unique demands and requirements of mobile devices. These requirements include:
- Least cost routing (being able to choose the communication network depending on application function)
- The ability to push application updates on demand or schedule for at a specific time
- The ability to take remote control of the device to resolve issues or for user training purposes as well as many other.
As consumers rely on this technology to support their personal lives it is important for employers to recognize that these devices will influence the behaviors and work preferences of its’ employees. BYOD Strategies can be managed through your IT department, quickly they become bigger than what your IT team can handle, there are companies out there to fill these gaps such as DecisionPoint. Visit our website by clicking here to find our how we can help you.
Let us know your thoughts and questions on BYOD.