Bring Your Own Device

20 mar 2018

written by: theodor spadeson
Bring Your Own Device

BYOD conception is a smaller part of the Consumerization of IT. What is the consumerization of IT? It is a process of blending of personal and work technologies and appliances. It has come with the young workforce and obtained a wide popularity.

IT consumerization as a term appeared in 2005 when Gartner named it “the hottest trend, which will significantly change the IT domain in the next 10 years”. Gartner experts were 100% right in their statement.

Nowadays, many companies, representing the most diverse domains, successfully apply the approach of usage of personal gadgets for work purposes.

BYOD as a trend appeared in 2009 for the first time, and, steadily gaining popularity, provoked a boom (2011) in the organization and management of the work process. Bringing your own device is the first step in an evolution leading to a new, BYOx culture (Bring Your Own Everything).

The widespread usage of Bring Your Own Device (the use of personal appliances for work purposes) in all domains allows you to accelerate business processes, almost instantly receive the up-to-date information and simplify communication with colleagues and employees. Simultaneously with the apparent ease of use and mobility of employees, many problems and information security risks arise.

Many modern companies are faced with the need to find a balance between the mobility of employees and information security of the business, solving a number of new tasks related to the effectiveness of managing personal instruments and ensuring the safety of their usage.

Let us consider the benefits and downfalls of the BYOD implementation.

What are the benefits?

  • Budget surplus. The most common wish of business owners all over the world has always been a surplus. The usage of employees’ own devices for work-related purposes helps to significantly cut down the business expenditures. Different companies apply different strategic approaches to this conception: some of them reimburse a specified amount of costs spent for a device/application/technology, while other companies require employees to cover the cost themselves.
  • Efficiency. It is much easier, faster, and more comfortable for employees to work with the device and applications, to which they are accustomed. Especially, this is appropriate to the young, progressive, and mobile workforce. Generally, experts have good devices with good applications for their work at home, so they prefer to use them. Why not allow?
  • Loyalty. A permission to use personal devices settles the trust-based relations of the company and staff. Every wise director counts trust relations with staff a must, and the BYOD conception is a good helper in this matter.

Hence, if the workers never part with smartphones, they start and end their day with checking the work mailbox. This means, that your “assets” via valuable workers are always reachable.

It does not mean, that you should spread the BYOD conception all over your employees, and all business domains.

For successful implementation of BYOD, a sophisticated entrepreneur should take into account all possible issues, including safety and security, which can lead not to a budget surplus, but to great losses.

The BYOD can be a real threat to confidential information, as it passes into the hands of your staff.

So, we are at the point of downfalls of the BYOD conception.

  • The device can be lost or stolen. With the loss of the device, the confidential information can be stolen by the foes;
  • An occasionally installed malware or counterfeit software can disrupt either IT infrastructure or your company’s regulations and requirements, and the single infected device can turn into a real threat to the whole business system;
  • The absence of a uniform end-user support;
  • Retrieving data and employee exit strategies.
BYOD Security Concerns

If the conception is so attractive for business, then there must be ways to avoid risks and eliminate the possibility of business failures.

The following section of our article is aimed at the consideration of the essential steps required for a proper and efficient implementation of the Bring Your Own Device.

To start with, it is important to conduct an analysis, whether you need a BYOD in your business, or not. Bring to focus the cost/benefit ratio and calculate how much will you be able to win with the application of BYOD phenomenon.

Next up, it is very important to elaborate a BYOD policy. If you are unsure about the necessity of policy, you’d better consult an expert in this field. It is obvious, that if there is no policy, there will a be a total chaos in your business. Pick the sides of your employees, who will be allowed to bring personal equipment for work purposes, and set the access level. Also, the employees, provided with BYOD allowance should endorse an agreement of your policy in order to avoid possible misunderstanding.

Specify the equipment, that will be permitted within your BYOD business network. It is an obvious thing, that some of the experts prefer Android-based devices, while the others use iOS-based gadgets only. You should be exact on your policy, so it is important to clarify, which devices are acceptable. This, in turn, will simplify the choice of security and management technologies. Moreover, such approach will contribute to a uniform end-user support.

Specify the technologies and applications. Apart from the clarification of the types of permitted devices, it is also important to specify the range of accepted and permitted apps and technologies. This point is not about the harassment of your staff but is about the security. There are many diverse applications and services, which can facilitate the points of intrusion, so the specification of accepted and banned soft and services is a substantial aspect of the overall security of your enterprise.

Secure your BYOD. Security has always been one of the vital points in business. Choose the best fitting security technologies to be used to protect the sensitive enterprise data. Moreover, it is crucial to set a different access for different types of devices. It means, that your policy should cover the point of what data is accessible on a certain type of device. This feature of BYOD policy will help to save your nerves and to prevent the unwanted consequences in case if the appliance is stolen or lost.

Since the moment a device/gadget was connected to your enterprise net, it has an access to the sensitive data you have. To protect the device, and, consequently, your data, it is important to use strong passwords or a system of temporary password generation. It is up to you. But remember, that the stronger the password is, the smaller the chances of a breach are.

To take full advantage of workforce mobilization, companies need to adopt a secure Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution designed not only to meet but also to fight issues and challenges appearing on the way of prosperity. The availability of diverse solutions allows business owners to apply the needed technologies depending on the chosen strategy and policy.

The BYOD suits available today offer the following features:

  • MDM - Mobile Device Management;
  • MAM - Mobile App Management;
  • IAM - Identity and Access Management;
  • MCM - Mobile Content Management.

Let us look closer at the represented tools and consider, what are they designed for. A highly scalable and flexible MDM is a must-have for companies supporting diverse devices, operating systems, and ownership models. An MDM provides the control and visibility of devices connected to the enterprise network.

The MAM tool generally serves as a kit of secure apps and a browser, which provides convenience and flexibility to users and secure the sensitive data at the same time.

Users and their identities are essential to the concept of mobility. The IAM system provides control of apps and data access.

In a modern competitive business landscape, it is important to protect corporate content outside the firewall. We all know, that the IP (Intellectual Property) is invaluable. With the help of an MCM, you will be able to provide another level of security to your IP, since all the sensitive data will be encrypted no matter how it is shared.

Define and set the employee exit strategy. Numerous examples of unethical practices of employees, exiting the position, highlight the importance of promotion of a set of mandatory duties for those, who leave the company.

The choice of a certain exit strategy is quite a complicated clause. Some companies practice the disabling user profiles and removal of access to data and work emails, while the others tend to wipe all the information (hard reset) on a device of a leaver. It is not necessary to copy a particular approach, you can elaborate your own strategy and become an innovator.

Smartphones

The following tip claims no originality or novelty, it only reminds, that the strategy of exits starts from the recruitment. You must examine the candidate and evaluate him/her before you sign a contract. A wise approach to recruitment helps to build not only the trust relations but to enforce your business power with a reliable professional.

If you manage to elaborate a flawless plan and strategy for your BYOD-based work process, you will get following benefits:

  • Satisfied staff - they work with the equipment and soft they are accustomed;
  • Reduced expenditures - you spend significantly less money on purchasing the devices and software;
  • Enhanced productivity;
  • Up-to-date gadgets and applications - your employees keep the used instruments and technologies on the front burner;
  • Focused IT - your IT department can pinpoint their attention upon their primary tasks instead of wasting their time on maintenance of corporate devices;
  • Increased engagement of workers - your employees, being allowed to use own devices are likely to work overtime or on the go;
  • Contented look. Do we even need to illustrate your look, when you are self-satisfied and proud of your contribution to the business prosperity?

According to numerous studies conducted in the field of BYOD and forecasts provided by Gartner, its implementation seems to be a daily reality in the nearest future. Many companies have already adopted it and bask in benefits, while the rest of enterprises are working on BYOD involvement and application.

We can hold our company up as an example of modern enterprise, which has already applied the BYOD practice to a working process. Of course, BYOD is not a must in our company, but is an option - the choice is up to the employee.