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Guarding the Enterprise Mobile Ecosystem with a BYOD Policy

October 24, 2016

While the idea of “bring your own device,” or BYOD, is commonly accepted and practiced in most American businesses today, there is evidence that companies aren’t taking it seriously enough. A study conducted recently by anti-virus security provider Trustlook found that only 39 percent of companies surveyed have a formal BYOD policy in place even though 70 percent of employees use a personal device for work. (Only 20 percent of companies say they provide mobile devices for employees to use at work.) In addition, more than 50 percent of respondents said they have never received instructions for using a personal device at work. Nearly as many (46 percent) are not even certain if their companies have a formal BYOD policy.

These are alarming figures, considering that BYOD, improperly managed, can represent security risks for companies. It’s also a way to bleed money through misuse of company networks. The same study found that only 14 percent of respondents said their company requires BYOD employees to install a preferred security solution on their devices. It’s imperative that companies take more time to plan and manage their organization’s “mobile ecosystem,” according to a recent article by James Bourne writing for EnterpriseAppsTech, as part of their mobile device management (MDM) program.

“Elsewhere, according to managed mobility services provider Stratix, the proportion of consumer devices in the enterprise has ‘skyrocketed’ between 2013 and 2015,” wrote Bourne. “It’s perhaps not the most surprising finding, but the company is warning over the complexities the devices – Android (News - Alert) deployments jumped to 70 percent from 20 percent in the timeframe, with iOS growing steadily and Windows declining dramatically – create as businesses adapt to their evolving mobile ecosystems.”

David Krebs, EVP at VDC Research, told Bourne that centralized management and monitoring of corporate MDM environments is vital to protect company assets, protect employees’ devices, and to ensure that devices are being used properly in accordance with company rules.

“VDC’s research confirms much of what Stratix is seeing among its customers, with a variety of technical challenges, growing sophistication of mobility solutions and limited internal support capabilities opening the door for professional third-party mobile managed services,” said Krebs.

Trustlook’s study noted that a BYOD program, properly managed, can help companies spend less in operating expenses. It does, however, need to be formalized and mandatory.

“MDM is a way to ensure employees stay productive and do not breach corporate security policies,” according to the report. “Most employees are unaware of the MDM solution their company uses. Many employees are not sure if their company even uses an MDM solution.”

A good MDM program, according to Trustlook, should include instructions regarding how to connect to networks or other company assets, installing an antivirus, and formalized rules governing which information should and should not be shared. It should also include instructions regarding what to do if a device is lost or stolen. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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