BYOD: is true flexibility still a stretch too far?

  • BYOD offers benefits of productivity, flexibility, cost reduction.

  • Companies need to have a defined strategy, clear policy, plus robust security and management tools.

  • With the right approach, BYOD can be a win for all.

Employees tend to be more satisfied and productive when they’re allowed to use their preferred mobile device for work. However, “bring your own” tools need to support – or at least, not undermine – legitimate business processes, security, and compliance requirements.In companies still hemming and hawing over whether to instate BYOD, however, IT departments are often guilty of overstating the associated security concerns – whether to satisfy a need for control or out of a disproportionate fear of risk. For some IT leaders, it goes against the grain that business data is no longer confined to enterprise systems. Others struggle with the mind-shift from expecting the individual to fit business demands to making the business fit individual demands.

To me, it’s not a case of whether to make BYOD work so much as how. After all, BYOD really isn’t so different from the widely-accepted practice of using one’s own car for business trips.



Best practices for BYOD

A new infographic, based on Forrester’s “Workspace Management Strategy” white paper shows that two-thirds of companies already have a BYOD program in place or in the pipeline, so the naysayers and laggards are in a dwindling minority. Forward-thinking organizations acknowledge the benefits (productivity, flexibility, cost reduction) of allowing personal devices to be put to professional use, and in response, are prepared for such devices to connect to the corporate network to access applications and content.

But companies that are making BYOD work don’t simply turn a blind eye to employee-owned smartphones and tablets flooding the workplace. Instead, they typically have a defined BYOD strategy, a clearly communicated and enforced policy, and the robust security and mobile management tools to minimize risk.

With the right foundational architecture, protective separation of business and personal use is perfectly doable. That can involve a mix-and-match of encryption, password protection, remote wipe policies, containerization, VPN access, and dual persona, to name a few best practices.

Businesses don’t have to navigate their BYOD journey solo. Any vendor worth its salt will go beyond merely pushing technology to extending support for strategy formulation, policy-making, deployment, and ongoing evolution. With a considered approach, appropriate employee engagement, and a few sensible precautions, BYOD can be a win for businesses and their workforce alike.

The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team