How can BYOD not be technology?
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) seems clearly to be technology. How can it not be? Good question! With a simple answer – the technology of your own device, should not distract you from the initial behavioral word, “bring.” When we refer to the growing trend of BYOD, we’re talking about a behavior that is increasing among both employees and their employers.
Richard Absalom, Senior Analyst at Ovum, reports, “BYOD is not just a top-down trend: executives have been overtaken as the most likely group to bring their own.” While it used to be that only the C level people could afford their own laptop, now almost everyone has a cell phone and HP is projecting “that each professional in the workplace will use more than six mobile devices” by 2020. I can count three now that I use. Laptop. Smart phone. Digital camera. If you have a work and a personal cell phone, you’re almost there!
But the BYOD benefit is two-sided, says Drew Hendricks, in his blog, Mobility TechZone. “Your smartphone can probably do more than most desktop PCs did a decade ago. Communications have changed dramatically. Depending on your point of view, BYOD is now either an integral part of your job or – if you happen to be an IT manager – a menace.” The security issues of having so many devices brought into the work environment can be a problem to those who seek to secure the work network, behind a protective firewall.
Do you have a BYOD strategy in place for your work environment? Such a document is no longer a future matter of consideration. The question is not whether your employees will bring devices and seek to connect. The real question for step-ahead thinking is how will you secure and manage employee behavior? Employee behavior in regard to personal devices at work can either help to maintain productivity, or can serve to create employee frustration.
Dragana Beara, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Networking Global Marketing says, “The challenge that organizations currently face is deciding how to respond to this behavior and the technology solutions they need to enable that response.”
As Hendricks points out: “A well-crafted BYOD strategy can facilitate increased employee productivity and engagement in an era of mobile-first behavior that has begun to blur the lines between work demands and personal usage.” Here are some considerations as you work out your policy for the internal use of external devices:
- What devices will be permitted? Decide which devices will be supported and which will not.
- Should employees be required to use lock screens?
- Will BYOD devices be allowed to be used by others (vendors or guests) outside of your organization?
- What will your service policy encompass? Is there a trade-off between the gain of no expenditure for the devices being used and the need to service those devices?
- What apps will be allowed, and which will be prohibited? How do you police the use of social media, personal email or other non-work apps?
- Where will data be stored and how will it be determined what data the business owns?
- What procedure will be used in the event of a stolen or lost device, which may need to be remotely shut down or disabled?
- What procedure will be used for employees who send out inappropriate material over the work network? Knowing what is acceptable or prohibited beforehand is helpful both to the employee and the organization.
- When an employee leaves the company there needs to be a clear procedure for handling removal of network and data access, to prevent security breaches and the risk of information misuse.
- Will you issue your policy with zero-tolerance for noncompliance, to ensure everyone adheres to the new strategy? This is often recommended, but might be preceded by a 30 day learning period.
Having employees enjoy the convenience of a mobile device they know because they own it, need not be a threat to the company data network. Recognize that BYOD is a behavior that can be directed by careful strategic planning.
Two great starting-point resources from HP to help in the process:
• White Paper – Unleash the full potential of BYOD with Confidence
• Resource Page – Bring your own device (BYOD)