Feature Article

September 17, 2013

Creating a BYOD Workplace: Suggestions for a Smooth Transition

Considering making your organization a 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) workplace? With more than one billion smartphone users worldwide, and an estimated $1.2 billion in smartphone and tablet sales expected in 2013, Ribbit reports, the demand for personal mobile devices is high. Companies across the globe are exploring the option of allowing BYOD in the workplace, and Mobile Authentication Today reports as many as 74 percent of companies allow (or tolerate) BYOD in some capacity.

The Pros

The benefits of having employees use their personal mobile devices for work can be very appealing, and beneficial. One primary reason to implement a BYOD program is to build employee satisfaction. BYOD allows employees to utilize the mobile devices they like, understand and find easy to use, while freeing them from the baggage of multiple devices. This employee-friendly program can also be beneficial for your organization. Having your employees utilize their personal mobile devices can decrease your corporate expenses by reducing technology fees (if you require employees to pay for their own devices and usage fees), or reducing spending on new products or software updates, since employee devices are often well cared for and up-to-date according to acrowire.com.

The Cons

Despite these enormous benefits, BYOD workplaces also face drawbacks, especially in terms of security concerns, such as data loss or data breaches, and enterprise IT management concerns, such as how to coordinate a myriad of employee devices.

To make the transition to a BYOD workplace as smooth as possible, consider the following mobile device management strategies to streamline your organization’s BYOD implementation:

Create Clear Policies — and Enforce Them

Creating understandable policies will help employees use their personal electronic devices in the corporate environment. Policies should explain which platforms are supported, which software is allowed, which systems can be accessed and what corporate privacy policies are in place. They should also clearly explain the consequences for non-compliance. Look to the Web as you plan your policies. Several helpful websites, such as TechRepublic, offer BYOD policy templates and suggestions.

Manage Mobile Devices with Organizational Planning

Since employees will be using a variety of enterprise mobility mobile devices, having an efficient enterprise management solution is essential. Your company needs to ensure your BYOD policies enable compatibility among colleagues and their devices, and that all devices are able to maintain corporate standards. Successful enterprise management can also help you create enterprise apps (rather than having to use apps available on commercial sites) to control consistency in the quality and functionality of workplace apps.

An effective enterprise management solution also must address IT help desk needs. While individual employees may be quite competent with their mobile devices, they may need additional help connecting their devices to the enterprise network. Furthermore, IT help desk calls may increase if the number of devices per user increases. For example, calls may increase from one employee having questions about one desktop, to another having questions about a laptop, smartphone or tablet. A solid enterprise management plan will also prepare your IT help desk for increased use of network resources, such as increased data volume submitted and accessed through Wi-Fi, landlines and roaming services.

Additionally, planning for BYOD should include consideration of which apps (such as email, calendar and IM) will be supported. Your corporate IT should put these services in place before implementing your BYOD policy.

Prepare a Detailed Security Plan

When creating a security plan, your organization should identify possible data security threats, create ways to prevent them and be prepared to address them. To eliminate as many security threats as possible, your organization will need to implement multiple layers of network protection. Security devices can include data encryption for software, apps and mobile devices, security patches and updates, standard configuration settings and software requirements, data backup requirements, password protection for devices and apps and remote data wiping capabilities (to prevent unauthorized users from accessing data if the device is lost or stolen, and to prevent employees from taking data with them when they leave the company).

Furthermore, when creating your security plans, your organization will need to carefully consider how to balance providing necessary corporate protection with individual personal privacy and data accessibility needs. Not all personal apps can logistically be blocked. However, certain apps could be “geo-fenced” to prohibit access of specific personal apps at your workplace.

About the Author:
Lindsey is an engineer for a major tech company. She loves writing about tech and mobile trends, when she is not busy playing piano at her local jazz club.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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