What factors are fueling BYOD?
- Cost savings on new equipment (PC’s, laptops, etc.)
- Greater job satisfaction leading to reduced employee turnover
- Increased employee productivity: A recent study from Cisco suggests employees who use mobile devices for both work and personal use, put in more hours than those who do not.
Don’t Jump on the BYOD Bandwagon Just Yet…
Accessing company data and infrastructure on a personal device creates security/privacy concerns, and best practice regulations that need to be addressed. Businesses who fail to understand the implications of BYOD can open themselves up to serious security risks.
For this reason, the importance of a mobile device management (MDM) solution in a BYOD-enabled workplace cannot be overstated.
While BYOD is the practice of utilizing personal devices for work-related activities, mobile device management solutions involve a type of software that allows the business to easily manage, safeguard and support mobile devices throughout the workplace.
In other words, MDM is a solution that makes BYOD possible – minus the security risks to your business.
Benefits of Mobile Device Management Solutions
The benefits of MDM are many, but a few of the popular features are:
- Employee flexibility: Mobile device management solutions offer employees freedom and flexibility over how and when they work. This translates into greater productivity overall.
- Monitoring Power: Management can set restrictions on company phones and monitor potential viruses, apps downloaded, how much data is used, etc.
- Fail-Safe Security Measures: MDM makes it possible to wipe data/email from managed mobile devices of disgruntled employees, eliminating the risk of post-employment data access.
Mobile Device Security
Mobile device management solutions allow employers to feel secure in how their data accessed, utilized, and distributed. With an ever-increasing number of malware intrusions and hacker attacks, a BYOD workplace without mobile device management is like playing Russian roulette with your company data.
One data breach is all it takes for customers to lose faith and take their business elsewhere. The legal implications of a data breach can be detrimental to not only a company’s success, but to their very existence. Understanding the importance of BYOD best practices and the establishment of a BYOD policy is essential.
If you’re still on the fence about evaluating mobile device management solutions for your Milwaukee area business, these BYOD pros and cons might help you make the right decision.
MDM Best Practices
To ensure a Bring Your Own Device policy works for all parties, knowledge of best practices is crucial. MDM best practices include, but are not limited to:
- Identifying personal versus work-related data
- Ensuring personal data is not accessible to IT administrative staff
- Establishing a data management policy, including wireless access protocols, business records management, and email security
- Restricting apps to ensure company data is not put at risk by new downloads
As an increasing number of devices have the potential of accessing company data, understanding BYOD best practices is more important now – than ever.
For example, you may have heard of IoT (Internet of Things). These “smart” devices are exploding in popularity; everything from doorbells to refrigerators and even coffee pots are capable of interacting with smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Without a well-defined BYOD policy in place, employees could unknowingly compromise corporate data through the IoT devices in their homes.
Establishing a Mobile Device Security Policy
When establishing a mobile device policy, it is crucial for all restrictions to be transparent and easily understood. The following are a few factors to consider:
- Establish a clearly defined list of allowable devices and applications
- Define an employee reimbursement policy for devices/applications
- Ensure employees are aware of your acceptable Wi-Fi access policy
- Define acceptable anti-virus software options, lock-screen and password requirements
- Clarify data confidentiality terms – provide an open forum for employees to express concerns to ensure they understand and are comfortable with your BYOD policy.
- Establish data/device regulations for employee dismissals/resignations
- Create an action plan in the event of a lost/stolen device
- Get signed agreements acknowledging employees understand the company BYOD policy
The Key to Securing Success: Employee Education
The nature of mobile devices alone, translates into the possibility of theft or unauthorized access due to an unsecure network (such as an airport or coffee shop).
For this reason, it’s important that new and existing staff understand the implications of their actions once they begin using their devices for personal and business use. While they might think nothing of downloading the latest app or mobile game to their smartphone or tablet, that action has serious implications once the device is used for work activities.
If established protocols are broken, checking email on a personal device used for business could have disastrous results, particularly if a mobile device management solution is not in place.
When employees are educated about the risks of using a mobile device in the workplace, they’ll be more mindful of the actions they take with the device, especially if they are aware of consequences for misuse.