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Key steps in implementing a successful BYOD strategy

Key steps in implementing a successful BYOD strategy
Key steps in implementing a successful BYOD strategy

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a maturing trend for enterprise mobility. What started as one of the original “consumerisation of IT” initiatives has now become an accepted practice in many IT departments. A 2014 AirWatch survey found that 50 percent of organisations now offer a BYOD program, so for the other half of organisations that have yet to implement BYOD, 2015 is the year to bring your mobility initiatives up to speed.

While employees enjoy the convenience and comfort of accessing corporate and personal applications on the device of their choice, BYOD can be a major headache for IT. With operating system (OS) updates nearly every 15 days and new phones still coming into the market, BYOD is a complex, ever changing challenge for IT managers.  However, the end result can be well worth the effort, as the same survey found that that the main motivating factors for implementing a BYOD program include cutting costs (about 35 percent), boosting productivity and enhancing security (both about 15 percent).

For those companies that are just taking the plunge into BYOD, 2015 is bound to be a successful year for you, thanks to the rapid maturation of the technology, programs and partnerships over the past few years. If implementing BYOD is on the top of your 2015 resolution list, here are some tips to help make it a smoother process.

1.  Pick your program

There are two primary options for extending BYOD to your organisation with varying degrees of enablement and security. That said, remember that both deployment structures can be used in a single organisation, should you require different options for specific groups within your company.

One model for securing a BYOD deployment is requiring users to download a mobile device management (MDM) profile. This will grant IT security enforcement to native applications, such as email, for secure access on the devices. In this scenario, it’s important to establish a clear terms of use for your employees. The terms of use should specifically state which features of MDM you are – or are not – enforcing. For instance, GPS tracking is a function that many companies do not activate for BYOD devices. When employees understand which applications are and are not managed, they are more likely to be open to enabling MDM on their device.

The other option for BYOD deployment is containerisation. Instead of managing the entire device, containerisation allows IT to manage just the corporate apps on the device.

In this scenario, end users have a dual identity on their phones: personal and corporate. Containerisation separates corporate and personal email, contacts, calendars and other enterprise applications. With containerisation, IT is only managing and securing the enterprise applications without accessing any personal applications. In essence, a containerised workspace allows an employee to have a personal and corporate identity on just one device.

Once you’ve determined your BYOD strategy, deciding on a payment plan is an important next step. Some historical payment options include offering a stipend or requiring employees to submit expense reports.

2.  Educate your employees 

Once you’ve determined your BYOD plan, educating your employees about the program is a critical next step. If employees feel threatened by security programs on their mobile devices or think the management process is like “big brother”, they may be less likely to adopt the policy, negating the usefulness of BYOD.

We’ve found that this communication needs to be steady, open and active. Employees need an avenue to ask questions, have two-way communication and even see the management console in place. We also recommend IT set up a section on the corporate intranet that houses the BYOD policies and documents, including the terms of use.

Our customers have come up with creative ways to gain employee approval on BYOD deployments even without the assistance of consultants. The CIO for Medical College of Wisconsin, David Hotchkiss, and his nimble mobility team embarked on an education campaign to share the importance of device security in BYOD scenarios. They set up town halls, interviewed focus groups and met individually with every department head possible to educate them on the importance – and non-surveillance – of mobile security for a BYOD workplace. Hotchkiss also established an open door policy for this program: any student, faculty or staff can look at the AirWatch administrative console at any time and see exactly what the software is, and is not, managing. Thanks to this effort, more than 4,000 students, residents and faculty now use their personal devices to access corporate/school email, apps and content securely.

While this level of communication may not be necessary for every company, the more an employee feels they understand the parameters of security, the more likely they will embrace the program.

3.  Stay ahead of the curve

Once you’ve determined the program and enabled devices with BYOD security, the job is not over yet. With BYOD, your IT department will take on a new role as a consultant. Providing access to multiple device types, and often to multiple devices per user, creates a myriad of new challenges for IT departments. IT departments managing BYOD programs are also routinely asked to troubleshoot on a much wider range of devices. Be sure your department is prepared for the influx and diversity of requests from the users, including device types, operating systems, applications and other “things” employees bring into the enterprise.

With this diversity, each new device type, OS update or application is a chance for a potential security vulnerability to arise. Partnering with an OEM-agnostic provider that can provide same-day support for all major device types and operating systems is critical to support a BYOD program. Employees are likely to want to update their personal devices as soon as they are able, so same-day or even instant support is critical for continuing the success and security of your BYOD program.

Once the program is up and running, the opportunities for the BYO era are not over. Some new trends we see in 2015 include BYO laptop or Mac, BYO applications and even BYOX – everything from wearables to peripherals to watches are likely to enter the corporate world in 2015 and IT needs to be prepared to grant the litany of new devices secure access to corporate data.

Article appeared here.