Burned by BYOD? Here’s How to Get It Right
By Sarah Lahav
CEO of SysAid
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has become a divisive issue in IT because many companies have had rough experiences with implementation. My goal here is to explain what usually goes wrong, and set out steps that will help you get it right. In many cases, BYOD solutions simply don’t meet end user expectations.
As the guardian of corporate data, IT departments sometimes achieve security at the expense of usability. Employees then circumvent policies, creating even bigger security concerns for IT. If you work in IT and want to make BYOD work, you must understand that your company’s employees are customers. This is the key to making IT a driver of business value without sacrificing security. Whether you like it or not, employees have a choice when it comes to BYOD.
Your Business and BYOD
They can do it with you, or without you. To keep your customers happy and on board with your BYOD policies, your BYOD implementation should go something like this:
1. Determine What Services to Provide
Your customers are already doing some form of BYOD, so your first step should be to discover what they’re already using and why. You need to understand what your customers want from BYOD.
Instead of guessing, meet with people from multiple departments and ask these three questions (or variations thereof): a) What are you currently doing on your mobile device? Why? b) What do you want to be able to access from a mobile device? Why? c) What devices do you use and want to be able to use? If you honor what customers want, they will be more open to doing BYOD on your terms. You will be able to establish guidelines and policies that customers actually follow.
2. Focus on Your Data
When an employee leaves a phone at the bar, you need the ability to secure data. Simultaneously, you don’t want employees to feel like you have commandeered their phone. If they paid $500 for their iPhone, they don’t want you pushing apps, restricting use or wiping all their family photos.
Therefore, I recommend you protect data by implementing a BYOD solution that does not put corporate data and apps on the device. In my opinion, BYOD solutions should allow mobile devices to remotely access data and apps that live in the cloud.
This way, IT can focus on securing one environment without worrying that employees have downloaded sensitive data to their phones. Your customers will like BYOD better when it doesn’t force them to eat up storage space with corporate apps and data.
3. Provide Social Support
IT departments struggle with BYOD because they don’t know how to support the wide variety of devices and apps. To address knowledge gaps and minimize the time that you spend on support, offer social support. This entails providing a knowledge base or forums where employees can answer each other’s questions about mobile technology.
It’s a form of crowdsourcing that minimizes drain on IT resources while making it easy for experts in the organization to answer questions. As with online forums, a few power users will come forward. Many people enjoy solving tech problems and the gratification of helping their colleagues. If you build it and publicize it, those people will come.
BYOD is already happening in your organization, so find out what your customers need, identify a secure solution and enroll the entire organization in mobile support. Changing both your BYOD approach and solution will lead to drastically different results.
For more information on the company, please visit www.sysaid.com