At present, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend continues to evolve in an upward and onward trajectory. The mobile ecosystem is bubbling with multi-platform BYOD applications, services and solutions. For many however, the BYOD trend has been nothing more than a headache—especially for IT administrators and industry experts. You may wonder how increased productivity and cost savings could make for such a negative perception. Here are a few reasons why:
- Depending on the approach, BYOD can be costly vs. cost effective. Employees may buy their own hardware sets, only to turn around and rob their organizations with uneconomical data plans and overgenerous public wireless use. Without much forethought, the hidden costs of BYOD can easily be overlooked.
- BYOD security implications can add more complexity and vulnerability to the corporate security landscape. Thus, without the proper management controls in place, it is wise to restrict BYOD devices from entering the corporate floors and prevent them from connecting to the pre-existing secure, compliant, protected and controlled corporate network.
- BYOD has been touted a productivity enhancer but can be a productivity killer. Employees often snoop into mobile social apps and games under the pretext of achieving business tasks.
- Supporting a BYOD workforce can be a cumbersome task, as IT may not have proper control over the user’s mobile landscape. Furthermore, mobile technological developments are happening at lightning speed, presenting IT with the challenging task of keeping abreast.
Some see the BYO-Downsides
Considering the four concerns above, is BYOD implementation worth avoiding at all costs? Must organizations stop themselves from embracing a trend that can add security complexities, support difficulties and a non-existent return on investment?
In one word: no. Organizations must not implement technologies that add more obscurities to their corporate landscape. However, organizations must analyse why firms supporting BYOD report data breaches. Instead of following and embracing technology trends for the sake of keeping up with their market competition, IT must interpret what enterprise mobility has to offer for their employees, business objectives, vendors and customers.
One to-do of many: determine what percentage of employees use their personnel devices at work. If BYOD programs are not implemented, how do they plan to keep tabs on unlawful mobile devices accessing corporate resources and housing intellectual property? In the mobility era, how will IT administrators seek and destroy illegal and malicious mobile threats?
A (not so) bitter pill to swallow
BYOD does not necessarily change the mechanics of device sourcing but empowers organizations to be technologically competent in the mobile age. Most importantly, BYOD programs empower organizations to effectively guard and tend to their technology savvy employee workforce.
The key to successful BYOD program implementation is having each and every mobile device under surveillance. IT must have an inventory of all devices entering, leaving and infiltrating their network. Adequate alerts and notifications must be defined if any unknown device is accessing corporate resources.
BYOD requires a multi-platform and multi-departmental approach. Mobile services, applications, policies must be identified by bringing together different departments, such as legal, HR, finance, etc... Different user groups must take into account different mobile risk scenarios and define policies that close out mobile security loop holes.
BYOD programs require extensive planning but eventually help organizations mitigate security concerns and data breaches by defining ample and sufficient mobile policies. For example, if an employee is asked to leave the company, IT must identify mobile policies that allow them to receive alerts to decommission and quickly erase corporate data residing on the device. Some industry experts argue that data on corporate owned devices is easily accessible but BYOD implementers have confirmed that mobile device management (MDM) solutions allow IT to efficiently manage and control not only corporate owned devices but also BYOD devices.
IT must understand that BYOD programs do help them save on the hardware costs but it can become a costly program if they fail to manage their data plans well. They must deploy an MDM solution to manage their mobile data expenses or use tools that help them control and issue warnings/tools when a BYOD employee engages in heavy data usage. Human resource and finance departments must work together to ensure that employees reimburse the only rightful data usage plan. Again, to control BYOD costs, different teams must collaborate to deploy a plan that will curb extensive wireless data usage expenses.
Educate, educate, educate!
BYOD programs can go rugged due to employee ignorance and misuse. IT departments are often perturbed about inefficient use of in-house mobile applications and services by employees. The solution to this agitation is extensive employee education via trainings, brief meetings, videos and email tutorials. BYOD employees must understand the different compliance standards that organizations must abide by and the possible repercussions of violating them. The BYOD policy must highlight the implications of any unlawful mobile activity and uncooperative employees must not be tolerated and denied access to corporate resources via mobile devices.
BYOD can easily change from a productivity enhancer to productivity killer if it remains unmanaged. Apart from managing mobile devices, IT must also focus on monitoring employee mobile app and services activity. Adequate mobile policies and notifications must be defined to curb employee mobile performance that is hindering activity. Use of mobile VPNs must be emphasized. Industry experts recommend adding mobile application management (MAM) solutions to your MDM solution for a strong command of one’s mobile ecosystem.
Another hurdle to enterprise adoption of BYOD is the help desk support for the workforce. When corporate data resides on a BYOD handset, who is responsible for support? IT or the BYOD user? This uncertainty can create legal issues, which is why these types of scenarios must be highlighted in policy agreements and discussed in brief meetings. Employees must be well aware of who is responsible for the support of device in different circumstances.
Still itching to find out how you can overcome the above struggles for your organization? We're here to help! Download our free 10 step guide below and be well on your way to better managed BYOD.