With all the different mobile devices available these days, you know doubt have your favorites. I know I do. And many people (myself included) feel very strongly about their choices. But it’s not just about providing for individual preference. For many users, the more comfortable and familiar they feel with a particular device, the easier and faster work becomes.
Because of this, many businesses have adopted bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. This allows employees to work on whatever device they feel most comfortable. And your business does not have to constantly invest in new hardware.
But what if you provide mobile devices for your employees to use? BYOD doesn’t apply to me, you might think. However, with so many workers working remotely, or even just accessing work information on their commute or at home, even if your office does not allow BYOD, it’s most likely you need to take it into consideration.
BYOD creates new challenges for businesses. Mobile devices are more vulnerable to loss, theft, or breach. Therefore, data security is a major concern.
Also, even if employees bring their own devices, you still need to be able to support and manage those devices.
So, what’s the best way to help balance the benefits with the challenges regarding BYOD?
The first step is to create a comprehensive Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy. However, this too can be challenging.
A report from Gartner indicates that 20% of BYOD projects will fail because they are too restrictive. Companies are rushing to come up with plans that make BYOD safe for both employees and their IT own departments. In their haste, the may create policies that sacrifice either data security or employee privacy.
As BYOD programs grow, employees become more aware of the ability for their IT department to access their personal information. As a result, employees are more cautious about giving IT department access to their devices. But, the fact remains that employees will most likely have their own devices and complete work throughout the day on such devices. The line between work and personal had become blurred. Solutions have to be found that provide employees the personal data privacy they require, but keep business flowing.
How do you provide for data security, but continue to allow for the privacy needs your employees have on their own devices?
The answer is to create a policy built on mutual respect.
It is of utmost importance that BYOD practices strike a balance between restrictive and permissive. First and foremost, you must create a mobility policy for your company. If you don’t have one already, there’s no time like the present to get started.
4 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a MDM Policy
- Put it in writing: Create a policy and put in writing right away. Then, make sure you have your employees read and sign the agreement. Ask employees if they have any feedback or questions. This will give you a chance to clarify any areas of confusion as well as allow for buy-in. Make sure to discuss the rationale behind your policies.
- Provide ongoing training and support: New viruses, malware, and threats pop up overnight. Make sure to continue to educate your employees and provide ongoing tech support.
- Respect your employees’ personal data: If something happens to one of your company devices, remote wiping is a great way to protect your data. But, if something happens to an employee’s device and wipe it, you will likely be erasing precious memories, important emails, and other personal information. It is important to address this issue and plan for such events. It may be that employees need to make sure to regularly backup their own personal data in the event a wipe needs to occur. Also, make sure you explicitly tell your employees that no one will access their personal data or location data on personal devices.
- Be proactive: Make sure to touch base with your team often to see how things are going. Quickly address new concerns or challenges. Don’t be afraid to seek input to refine your process and your policies to ensure everyone is able to follow them.
“BYOD is a unique intersection of the personal and the professional. Keeping that fact in mind when implementing your program will help make it a success for everyone.” – Adam Levy, B2C
Check out Adam Levy’s blog post about this same topic.
Need Some Help Getting Started?
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About Higher State Technology (HST) Since 2004, specialists at Austin-based Higher State Technology (HST) have provided implementation, troubleshooting, hardware, software and managed services solutions for multi-location companies and for solopreneurs. HST helps companies safeguard their IT assets through network protection, backups and disaster recovery, antimalware and anti-spam protection, and other risk management services. HST offers remote and onsite IT support and management tailored to the needs of each client. For more information, visit www.Higher-State.com.
Author: Meredith Clark; HST Writer