An effective BYOD plan must balance control with convenience. Here's what to keep in mind.
Managers often believe a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy is a silver bullet to solving mobile communication problems within their organization. Thoughts of "I don't need to purchase hardware for employees" or "Workers are more productive with their own device" can mask the challenges that often accompany BYOD programs. Today's business environment is becoming a target for data breaches and various security risks, so organizations cannot afford to overlook security when developing a BYOD strategy.
However, there's a fine balance when implementing BYOD security regulations -- you don't want to be so overzealous about security that employees' work is hindered. Done right, BYOD can reduce technology expenses while increasing end users' productivity and improving office morale. An optimal enterprise mobility strategy provides comprehensive device security without impeding employees' pace of work.
For example, many companies have traditionally forced users to connect with a VPN before accessing company resources. On mobile devices, that process is a real pain. It's also not practical -- since most users switch between work and personal tasks, it actually discourages users from staying connected and productive. Companies can implement in-app VPNs and Micro VPNs, which automatically connect specific apps to the corporate network without requiring users to make that connection manually. Companies can also distribute secure browsers that allow users on to internal links that automatically connect to Intranet sites or web application servers without manually launching and connecting with a VPN.
Without a well-designed and unified device management strategy in place, companies risk exposing their most sensitive data to outside sources -- and even competitors -- while stunting employee innovation. Here are three ways to create a plan that maximizes the benefits of BYOD while mitigating the threats.
1. Be transparent with employees.
Attempting to hide unflattering aspects of a BYOD plan can backfire if employees discover them. Being truthful about employee privacy rights and enterprise mobility management (EMM) components fosters a sense of trust between decision makers and their corporate team. We see this often with companies we work with: They explain that the technology is designed to protect and secure, but that it may collect employees' personal location information and personal apps. Be clear that you're not trying to play Big Brother, and that there are privacy filters installed to restrict access to most personal identifiable information (PII).
Building BYOD trust works both ways. CIOs and company leaders should feel confident that their employees are responsibly embracing the freedom of enterprise mobility -- and if at any point the leadership team feels that workers are not handling company data securely, they have the option to implement stricter BYOD controls.