Getting Ready for BYOD?

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a trend adopted by companies where employees are permitted or encouraged to use their personal mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to access company resources like emails, files, applications, and databases.

In early 2013, Dell Quest Software conducted a global survey of nearly 1,500 IT decision makers across the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Singapore, India, and Beijing (China) to determine how public and private sectors are responding to the BYOD trend.

Results showed that Australia was among the top three countries (along with the United States and Beijing) which strongly encourages BYOD by actively managing and supporting any device that users want to bring to the office.

The survey also revealed that 7 out of 10 companies believed that BYOD policies can improve work processes, while 3 out of 5 (59%) felt they’ll be at a competitive disadvantage without it.

Fast forward to 2014, the BYOD trend hasn’t waned. In fact, when Gartner’s released their top 10 IT predictions for 2014, they listed influx of mobile device usage in workplace as among the inevitable IT trends that companies should prepare for.

Needless to say, a BYOD program is inevitable and something every company or organisation should deal with sooner or later.

BYOD promises many BENEFITS.

1.  Greater productivity and innovation. Employees are more comfortable and expert at using a personal device, so they become more productive at work. And because Aussies are considered early adopters of technology, expect more employees to bring the latest and most up-to-date devices to work.

2.  Employee satisfaction. Isn’t it gratifying to be able to use and “enjoy” your own device even if you’re using it for work?

3.  Flexibility and Cost savings. By allowing your employees to bring their own device to the office, employees are more willing to personally pay for a device that will be used for work.

BYOD also supports a mobile and cloud-focused IT strategy. Using their mobile devices, employees can perform work-related tasks via the cloud and have 24/7 access.

Given the influx of employee-owned devices being used at work also raises complex issues for businesses around security and integration with their systems like:

1.   Malicious software (adware, spyware) can steal data or give unauthorised users access to company resources;

2.   A simple loss or theft of a mobile device can lead to critical information leaks;

3.   A resourceful, disgruntled employee can bypass restrictions and use a workaround to connect to corporate resources;

4.   And, an employee can store sensitive company data in cloud-based storage services offered on mobile platforms.

Apart from these issues, IT managers will have to deal with the multiple platforms (iOS, Android, and Windows) to support smartphones and devices that are brought to work.

Obviously, to do BYOD successfully is a challenge. There should be a good balance between enforcing the policy and allowing employee productivity. So, how do you create new opportunities with BYOD?

    • Ensure that authorised employees can conveniently access the internal corporate network anytime, anywhere using any device.
    • Separate corporate and personal data on devices to prevent data loss & privacy concerns.
    • Invest in Mobile Device Management (MDM) to control and secure mobile devices.
    • Update your applications and IT infrastructure.
    • Keep data secured across your entire network infrastructure, from endpoint device all the way to the data center.

Ultimately, your success in BYOD will depend on how you thoroughly planned your program/policy. Start by conducting a cost-benefit analysis while identifying who gets access and what technologies will be used to manage and secure their mobile devices. Then, inform employees of the policy and set guidelines. There should also be a standard procedure for removing access to business applications when an employee leaves your company. Lastly, invest on a good, reliable support structure that will manage devices and end users.

Got BYOD questions? We’d be happy to answer them for you. Contact us for excellent IT services anywhere in Sydney today.