How to initiate and implement a successful BYOD policy
The debate about using mobile devices for work, either in the office or away from it, is well and truly over.
In their infographic “BYOD Boom: 2014 Will be the Year the Enterprise Goes Mobile”, Egnyte supply a wealth of quantitative data about the BYOD trend. They state that already “85% of workers say their smartphone is their most-relied-upon device and that nearly two-thirds of companies already permit employees’ personal devices to connect to corporate networks.
The costs saving benefits are easily identified. Today with a BYOD policy in place, businesses may only have to provide PC’s for say 50% of employees, with the rest using their own tablets, laptops or smartphones. Meaning very significant up front savings can be made on equipment costs.
Less simple to quantify but nonetheless evident is the effect of BYOD on productivity. Mobility, both inside the office and out of the office can have an enormous beneficial impact on a business in terms of efficiency as this report from Accenture identifies.
If you have not already become part of the BYOD revolution, by the end of 2014 you will have. So where do you start? One word: policy.
With unregulated use of mobile devices inside a business, existing IT infrastructure will soon disintegrate. The first thing you need to develop is a robust and comprehensive BYOD protocol. In just the same way as any corporate policy and procedure manual is created, look at the big ticket items first such as security, capacity, MDM, cost etc. Then drill down into the specific procedures for say on-boarding, passwords and log-ins. Basically, you will only get out what you put in, so the more comprehensive the policy is, the better the outcome. These are the 6 key items you need to be aware of before your company re-wire can begin.
Management of devices
We now have the probability of a whole myriad of devices connecting to a company’s network. Different devices running will be running on different OS with different apps. There are a large number of mobile device management solutions but the most complete at the moment is VDI. VDI delivers the same desktop experience to the employees’ mobile device. All that is required is for the mobile user to have access to an internet connection. VDI does have its drawbacks such as the 8.00am log in jam or certain devices not being compatible, but the systems are developing and improving all the time.
As access to technology grows, the less secure the information on the network becomes. The more devices connected to a network the greater the risk of data leakage. The more mobile the device is, the greater the risk of losing secure data. Sophisticated, but still easy to use, authentication protocols are required. The big security plus for a VDI system is that company data is not stored on the device. In practical terms, the security of company data is an enormous problem for every business no matter whether or not mobile devices are being used.
Visibility on the network
It is critical for the IT department of a business to know at a glance which devices are connected to the network so they can provide the necessary infrastructure, security and support. Use MDM software to identify and monitor each device connected to the network.
On-boarding of devices
This is the process of connecting the mobile device to the company’s network. To make this successful both from the business and the users’ perspective this has to be a simple, straightforward process. Preferably, there should be no requirement for the mobile device to have software installed and the process should be carried out by the user not by the IT department.
With BYOD the control of employees’ data usage is imperative. Employees may be given a fixed plan for data or it may become the employees’ responsibility to pay for data. Whichever way, it is helpful to provide data usage software to alert users when data limits are being reached.
Giving employees the choice of which device to work on, can be a liberating experience for many but it can also be counter-productive for some. A draftsperson using large files on a daily basis may appreciate the ability to check their emails on a smartphone but trying to draft on a tablet, forget it. None the less, freedom of choice on what device to work with and where to work, either at a desk, home or car is fast becoming the new ‘norm’ in the corporate landscape.
Productivity Through Connectivity.
In the process of devising your BYOD policy ensure that each and every employees needs are met. You need to be realistic. Remember not one BYOD policy fits all job roles.
BYOD is really the comsumerisation of IT. No longer will all the IT services be provided by the business, but more and more will be brought into the business by the individual employee. Productivity is notoriously difficult to measure and evaluate in any business. The concept of having customers, suppliers and employees connected at all times must surely be a great boost to the efficiency of any businesses.
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