BYOD + Security = productivity without compromise.

Padraic Murphy
On: 29 Mar 2018
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A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is increasingly demanded by employees. Are employers right to resist on the grounds of security risk or should they welcome BYOD for the efficiency, productivity and financial gains it can bring?

The pressure is on to adopt BYOD.

It’s a competitive market for recruitment and employers may feel forced to adopt a BYOD policy. As cliché as it is to mention the increase in millennials in the workforce, there’s another cliché that they can’t be separated from their smartphones, and both are true. When your employees are running their lives from 5-9 on the latest Android or iOS smartphone, why would they suffer anything less 9-5?

A BYOD policy can save €200-300 per annum per employee.

The financial benefits of BYOD are hard to ignore. When the cost of providing and replacing devices is taken into account, a BYOD policy can save €200-300 per annum per employee. Then there are the productivity benefits of employees using their own devices. The line between our work and personal lives is blurring with the growth in mobile working and many of us prefer to not have to carry around two phones at all times. A company-owned device might be put aside outside office hours, but an employee’s own device will still be in their hand or pocket, always on and never ignored. Other pressures include the rise in contract and part-time working, as issuing and retrieving devices for a transient employee base is complex, time-consuming, and a data security nightmare.

Making BYOD a success.

It’s generally HR who drive a BYOD policy forward. It’s then generally IT who put the brakes on. What looks attractive to HR and Finance in terms of employee recruitment and retention, cost-savings and increased productivity, looks very different to IT.

What looks attractive to HR and Finance looks very different to IT.

For example, twenty employees could mean twenty different devices, four different manufacturers, two operating systems and countless compatibility issues and security risks for IT to overcome. The key to successful BYOD is not introducing it in isolation, but in tandem with a clearly defined user policy and security strategy. It can’t be an open door for any devices and any apps, unmanaged. Remember also that BYOD applies to more than just smartphones and email. Laptops and tablets, apps, tools and cloud resources should all be included within the policy, to deliver benefits without risk.

This is your checklist for successful BYOD:

1. Clearly define which devices are allowed onto the company network. This can be as restrictive as you want; you can go by specific devices or simply by operating systems, models or manufacturers.

2. Establish a clear security strategy around how data is delivered to the device. Employees should only be allowed to use apps and tools provided by you, and there should be clear and effective data access policies.

3. All staff should know exactly what data – both personal and business – is on their devices. Being able to account for the whereabouts of data at all times is an essential element of GDPR compliance.

4. Business and personal data and communications on the same device should be kept entirely separate at all times, through the use of secure `sandboxes’.

All of the above are best facilitated by a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. MDM is an effective way to remotely manage your policy, users and devices. It will allow you to wipe devices in the event of loss or theft, disconnect or disable unauthorised users or applications, or simply install device updates centrally, in a controlled manner. This MDM Buying Guide has everything you need to know when considering a solution.

Research* shows that businesses implementing BYOD experience:

  • improved employee mobility (61%)
  • greater employee satisfaction (56%)
  • enhanced employee productivity (55%)
  • reduced costs (47%).

That’s clear evidence that with the right user policy, security strategy and MDM solution in place, BYOD can also stand for Better Your Own Device.

*Crowd Research Partners, 2016 Spotlight Report: BYOD and Mobile Security