BYODThe Rise Of Enterprise BYOD: A Disruptive Trend or The Future Of How We Do Business?

The world is going increasingly mobile. In 2011 smartphones outsold laptops, and in 2013 numerous analyst firms were predicting that tablets would outsell computers (including desktops and laptops) before the end of the year.

So with the obvious rise in popularity of mobile devices and tablets in society as a whole, it was only going to be a matter of time before these devices became increasingly integrated into the business world.

A recent IBM study on mobile adoption found that 90% of global organisations surveyed are willing to sustain or increase their investments in mobile technologies over the next 12-18 months. One of the reasons for increased investments is the measurable impact on speed and productivity.

However, before a company can successfully integrate and manage the use of personally owned devices in the workplace, there are a number of important factors which must be considered first.

13 Factors To Consider When Implementing And Managing A Successful BYOD Strategy

1. How will new BYOD policies and procedures integrate with the policies and procedures already in place?

The first step is to establish a practical approach for implementing new BYOD policies and procedures into your current system. The seamless integration of new policies and procedures — in a manner that is compatible with existing policies — is essential to help minimise any disruption in workplace productivity. This is a good time to review and update existing policies to take into account the reality of an increasingly mobile workforce.

2.  Understand BYOD support requirements. Do you have the resources to implement a support system to help employees deal with any problems? 

A successful BYOD strategy can make huge improvements for your business in terms of increasing overall workplace productivity, and it can also be an effective tool for tracking the productivity of certain individuals. However, employees may (and almost certainly will) come across certain problems when using their own personal device/s for work purposes — such as different operating systems, devices not being compatible with enterprise apps and networks, and employees not knowing whether these issues are related to the mobile app, device or mobile network.

Appropriate software tools such as Mobile Device Management (MDM) software can be a great solution for companies that implement a BYOD strategy. If you don’t have the right capabilities in-house to efficiently deal with any problems that employees may encounter while using their personal device for work, then a managed MDM service is something you should consider.

3. Do you have an awareness plan for employees so they are aware of the implications of using personal mobile devices to access company data and information?

Employees must be fully aware of and understand the policies surrounding the use of mobile devices to access company information and VPNs. Employees must also be aware of (and understand how to use) the support system put in place to help deal with any problems that may arise while they are using these mobile devices — such as the inability to access company data and information (for whatever reason).

4. Can you monitor activity when employees are accessing sensitive information or utilising company apps and software?

Giving employees access to sensitive information and allowing them to utilise company owned (or licensed) software on their personal devices is a big concern for many businesses for obvious security reasons. It is important to have a monitoring system put in place that can oversee the use of company owned data, information and software. But you must also keep in mind there are certain employee rights and privacy issues which need to be taken into consideration and addressed before implementing these monitoring systems (This issues have been outlined below).

5. Are you fully aware of employee rights and privacy issues relating to BYOD policies?

When implementing systems which have the capability of monitoring the use of an employee’s personal device, there needs to be certain boundaries put in place to protect the rights and privacy of that individual. For example, an employee should only be subject to monitoring of their personal device ONLY while they are using that device for work purposes. Any additional monitoring of that device while it is being used as it was initially intended by the user — as a personal device, could be considered an invasion of privacy and leave employers/companies exposed to litigation, unless employees are fully informed and agree to such monitoring.

6. Do you (or will you) have total control over policies affiliated with any MDM solutions being implemented?

Even if you don’t own the data/information being stored in company databases, you still want measures put in place that control how users are accessing the system. Can you stop access if you need to without altering the device itself (if the device is not enterprise supplied)? Can you remove or ‘wipe’ information from a user’s device without interfering with the functionality of that device, or impacting personal information?

You must realise when implementing BYOD strategies for the workplace that employee owned devices will also contain personal information and data. Therefore it is very important to have total control over any MDM policies and solutions used in a BYOD environment, with a system put in place in place to protect the personal information and data of the device owner.

7. Is your business set up to fully embrace mobility and mobile device technology?

Are your business policies aligned with mobile access? For example, can approvals be done without requiring hard copy signatures? Are data points (such as a corporate WiFi network) accessible to mobile devices? Are key apps compatible across your entire network of devices? In order for you to fully utilise the great potential of mobile solutions, you need to ensure your business is structured in a way to do so. This means having the right infrastructure, software, policies and procedures, and overall capabilities to integrate smartphones, tablets and other new devices.

8.  Does your policy address how unauthorised or non-company apps can be used on devices?

For example, can employees use cloud file sharing apps such as Dropbox to store and manage corporate data? BYOD policies should clearly outline and state the specific details of what is permitted and allowed to be done (in relation to work related duties) by the user of that device.

9. Will certain BYOD policies and procedures be personalised to suit a particular employee’s role?

Or will they be ‘blanket’ policies which all employees must abide by? The guidelines outlined in any BYOD policy will ultimately affect how employees are able to do their job. The use of ‘blanket’ policies can be very effective and the best choice for some businesses. While ‘flexible’ BYOD policies which are determined and modified on a case-by-case basis will be the obvious best choice for others.

10. Do you have alternative methods and strategies put in place to conduct business if mobile devices fail? And do employees know how to utilise this ‘back-up’ system?

It’s always a good idea to have ‘back-up’ options available that can be used in case a mobile device fails. There must also be a high level of awareness about these particular ‘back-up’ options so employees know exactly what to do when their device fails OR if they run into any other problems relating to your BYOD strategy. This will help reduce any loss of productivity and still allow employees to be efficient while doing their job.

11. Can you track and analyse the efficiency and effectiveness of your BYOD initiatives?

To help you establish whether or not your new BYOD initiatives are effective, and an asset to your business (or just a waste of time, money and resources) you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of the strategies that have been implemented.

12.  Have you conducted a cost analysis of your BYOD spend versus the deployment of a company-owned device?

Key items to consider are mobile service costs, device costs and extra support complexity that may arise from the use of personal devices and mobile services. BYOD could actually turn out to be the more expensive option — once all of the cost factors relating to the implementation of new policies and infrastructure have been taken into consideration.

13.  Have you considered a CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) policy?

A CYOD strategy can help alleviate some of the problems and legal issues which are normally associated with the implementation of a BYOD strategy. CYOD allows employees to select certain devices from a pre-approved list. This gives the IT department the ability to ensure any new devices being integrated into an existing network can be done seamlessly, cost efficiently and without any disruption to the productivity of the workforce. A CYOD option for employees can also reduce the legal risks and ramifications of allowing employees to use their own personal devices to access company data/information as they are owned and belong to the company.

Market Clarity can assist with all aspects of your mobility strategy. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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