Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is changing the workplace but since consumer devices are bought by consumers for consumers, they are not specifically designed for the workplace, which results in a number of issues, particularly concerning data security, that need to be resolved.
As the consumerization of IT evolves, there are a number of tools being developed to assist in the successful implementation of BYOD in the most secure way possible. Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management systems are both progressing rapidly in the search for the best solution to the range of problems presented by the BYOD trend.
But while there are, undoubtedly, problems with employees using their own devices in the workplace, there are also many advantages so businesses need to look at the positives regarding BYOD and seek out services which will help to manage user identity, remotely control devices and protect confidential data.
Handing over a significant amount of power to employees regarding IT is a daunting prospect but the benefits in terms of productivity can be huge.
There will always be a need for a stand alone IT department in any large company but having employees take the reins for at least some issues will free up the specialists' time and contribute to greater efficiencies as well as greater employee satisfaction.
When employees take part in a BYOD program they are essentially carrying their desk and their computer home with them at night; on the tube, the bus, to the bar and to friend’s homes. The potential for the loss of sensitive information is huge, therefore, employees need to be made fully aware of the risks and to be in agreement with their employers over the necessary actions in case of the loss of their device, especially where this might necessitate the wiping of all data on a compromised device: personal and work data.
Employees need to understand that management may reserve the right to remotely “clean” a lost or stolen device of any sensitive information and it is in cases like this where the advantages of programmes which “partition” information into separate work and personal areas becomes apparent.
Whatever type of BYOD programme is implemented, employees should fully understand the potential ramifications of a lost or stolen device and in every case be advised to back up their own personal data.
The questions which are being asked now by both employers and employees will help define the policies of the future and as companies seek to manage the sudden growth in BYOD, individual employees should recognise that they have just as much responsibility in the evolution of the trend as do their companies.
It is essential that policies are implemented with the full involvement of all staff; training and discussion around the issues of BYOD are important and seeking out the opinions and experiences of all staff will help to create sound policies which work for everyone.
The positives of BYOD cannot be denied for companies of all sizes as well as the employees. The idea of one device for all occasions is a very attractive one and as technology companies have come to realise this, more and more consumer devices are being designed with BYOD in mind.
This suggests that a trend for more sophisticated and powerful devices for all may be just around the corner and consumers and businesses may soon be able to benefit from BYOD with the added bonus of better technology and security.
BYOD is indeed shaping the future of IT.