Creating a BYOD Policy That Sticks

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Most employees use their smartphones for work-related activities these days — as many as 84 percent, some say. That means most companies have embraced BYOD whether they realize it or not.  But few companies have yet to embrace BYOD policies, meaning they aren’t optimizing cost efficiencies and possibly leaving themselves vulnerable to security threats.

So where do you start? We culled together some of Chief Mobility Officer’s best insights on smart BYOD policymaking, organized around thee fundamental issues.

Productivity and Costs

The dual goals of BYOD are to reduce costs on the enterprise, and to boost employees’ productivity by putting the best, most comfortable tools, in their hands. Here’s what to think about:

  • Moving Beyond the Pros and Cons of BYOD: There’s still lots of debate over whether BYOD represents a significant cost-savings opportunity, or whether the additional measures required to implement it negate those gains. By taking stock of all the potential costs and usage opportunities, companies can begin to frame their own mobility policies accordingly.
  • How to Build Productivity: A study summarized on ChannelNomics shows that businesses overwhelmingly claim that workers have been able to get more, and better, work done by shifting their mobile workload onto personal devices.
  • Managing BYOD Costs: Whether individual-liable or company-liable, the move toward mobile productivity is presenting the people paying the bills with a bit of a dilemma: The huge increase in data usage is turning into some massive bills, especially as people jump on super-fast 4G (LTE) networks.

Data and Devices

Once you think about potential productivity gains and the overall costs of running a BYOD program, you must consider the ins and outs of it: What devices and data plans do you support?

  • Surveying the Smartphone Market: As companies’ IT departments begin to adjust to a new (mobile) world order, one of the biggest questions has surrounded which devices and operating systems to support, and which (if any) to ban. But the smartphone market is turning into a two-man game.
  • The iPhone 5 in the Enterprise: Advances in security measures, processing speed, and video capabilities suggest the new iPhone will ultimately be a welcome addition to enterprise device fleets.
  • The Key to BYOD? It’s the Data, Of Course: All that being said, the devices ultimately take a backseat to the data they’re accessing. Figuring out which apps and information to make accessible and which to lock down should really be IT’s first priority. After all, the phones are just simple vessels.

Security and Visibility

IT managers tend to give themselves heartburn thinking about all the potential security concerns BYOD programs may introduce. From lost or stolen phones holding sensitive company information, to hackers taking advantage of easy targets,  BYOD does present a new set of hurdles. But you can — and should — be a step ahead of them.

  • How to Safeguard Your Mobile Devices Against Security Breaches and Outages: “Disaster-recovery management” is becoming a more urgent concern in BYOD settings, as data breaches or outages — whether man-made or simply acts of God — have the potential to submarine the company’s bottom line. Spelling out a clear policy and having a plan for such a scenario is now a must.
  • Top Mobile Security Threats to Watch: According to new research from McAfee, instances of mobile hacks are on the rise — whether they’re “drive-by downloads,” Twitter-controlled “botnets,” or “mobile ransomware.” It’s become crucial for IT and management to acknowledge all the current and potential threats they’re dealing with, and communicate those to employees.
  • Implementing Proactive, Not Reactive, Mobile Management: The key to managing BYOD programs really lies in having complete visibility over the entire inventory. With access to data on user behavior — from call usage to texts and downloads — managers can get a sense for where the program is failing and work proactively from there to curb “bad spend.” Forming a mobile plan to the enterprise’s needs is what we’ve called “mobile intelligence” — and what ultimately ensures maximum productivity.

And remember, the policy does no good unless you communicate clearly to employees, management, and IT staff  their rights and responsibilities.

Related: BYOD: Moving Beyond the Pros and Cons.

Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user Jhaymesisviphotography.

 

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