Nowadays, employees expect unfettered access to corporate data. In fact, 68% of employees are already using their personal devices for work, according to a recent survey by Globo.
While there are many benefits to a “Bring Your Own Device” friendly workplace, such as increased productivity and lower expenses, companies need to think carefully when crafting their own BYOD programs.
- Data Security: This is an important issue, especially to those in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services. Data must be protected in multiple situations: on-device, in-transit between network and device, within the application, across different user profiles, and when an employee leaves the company or loses the device. These varying use cases require different approaches to data security, such as encryption, authentication, containerization, virtualization, mobile device management and mobile application management.
- Employee Privacy: Companies don’t want to be responsible for deleting an employee’s wedding photos, and employees expect that their personal activities will not be monitored. Furthermore, employees assume that the user experience will remain unchanged (no barriers to accessing Facebook, lockdown on installation of new apps, or heavy security routines, which impact device performance). This drives the need for companies to consider managing security at the application rather than the device level.
- Network Protection: Consumer devices are inherently insecure, leaving a lot of risk on the table. How do you prevent malware threats from infected third party apps? And how do you keep jailbroken phones from corrupting your network? What about public Wi-Fi connections? Are you going to force your employees to suffer through a slow VPN connection whenever they’re working at a coffee shop on a Saturday? Or will you enable a secure way for workers to directly access your network?
- Application Delivery: How will users access applications? With employees accustomed to the instant download capability of app stores, old-school restrictive installation policies won’t go over well. Are you going to ban employees from using their favorite productivity apps such as Dropbox and Skydrive or will you find a way to secure them?
- Financial Implications: Your analysis is not complete without considering the financial impact of BYOD. To what extent are you willing to reimburse your employees for their service plans? What is IT’s role in supporting BYOD devices? How will you measure success?
The answers to these questions are different for every company, but fortunately there are many tools to assist companies in managing mobile apps. With the right policies in place, any company can launch a successful BYOD program.