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BYOD: Letting Workers Run Wild with Personal Devices Is Not an Option

July 12, 2016

The mobile device explosion is upon us, and organizations throughout the world are scrambling to keep on top of the plethora of devices their employees are bringing into the corporate environment. Getting a handle on BYOD isn’t a simple process, but with proper policies and security practices, businesses can ensure personal devices facilitate productivity instead of causing trouble.

Letting workers run wild with their mobile devices is simply not an option for any organization. The safeguards and procedures put in place for corporate hardware and software need to somehow be extended to personal devices, in a way that protects sensitive company data and networks without compromising worker privacy and accessibility. The easiest way to accomplish this is to implement and enforce stringent policies and guidelines for BYOD usage.

Data and network security should be a paramount concern when managing BYOD and drafting policy. Workers should be part of this process, as they can contribute valuable information about the types of devices they are using for work purposes as well as exactly how they are using them. IT staff can then draft practical policies alongside workers to maintain security and accountability without overly inconveniencing workers.

Mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions can go a long way toward solving the accessibility and security issues associated with BYOD. An MDM offering lets businesses automate mobile device management, and can be useful for devices provided by the company. It may also be used for personal devices, letting employees safely and securely access company assets while maintaining their own personal apps and services.

In much the same way, an EMM solution documents employee workflows and practices to ensure MDM policies are being enforced. This type of offering is also useful in assigning roles and setting levels of accessibility and visibility, ensuring companies adhere to internal policies while also meeting outside regulatory mandates and rules.

Training and education for both IT staff and workers are one of the best ways to ensure BYOD isn’t abused. Employees need to be aware of company policies and security measures and learn how to stay in compliance when using their personal devices. IT staff also require more advanced training to understand the specific security risks posed by particular mobile devices and how to circumvent them.

Finally, organizations should reexamine their BYOD policies and procedures every six to 12 months due to the fluctuating nature of mobility and its associated applications and services. With due diligence from both companies and their workers, BYOD can offer all the benefits of productivity and flexibility without inherent management and security risks.

Edited by Alicia Young