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BYOD Bunfight: How to Cook Up a Mobile Success

Dec 8, 2015

Brilliant Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) options put the icing on the cake when it comes to IT.

You’ve actually got your environment pretty much as you want it,  and you feel ready to pursue that special something that takes your IT from OK to awesome?

On the face of it, BYOD should make IT managers decidedly uncomfortable. After all, the users’ personal devices become an entry point to the network, they contain someone else’s valuable data and the user decides what apps are downloaded.

Even though managing BYOD is far from a piece of cake, there are some tools and techniques that stop it from being a recipe for disaster.


Of course, it isn’t only the IT manager who may feel uncomfortable. According to a Harris Interactive study, 78% of those using a mobile device for their work are bringing their own. Of those, nearly half would stop the practice if they were required to install a security app of their employer’s choice. One of the most common fears is the potential for the employer to wipe the device, losing personal information and precious photographs. Fair enough – after all, no matter the business situation, nobody wants to lose their baby’s first photo or the details of the driver who reversed into them at the supermarket car park.


One option well worth considering in any BYOD policy is containerism – the practice of blocking business data off separately from the user’s personal contents. There are a few tools, such as IBM’s MaaS 360, that prevent business and private data from mixing. This helps to protect everyone involved – if a misplaced device is found down the back of the sofa, those pics of little Johnnie taking his first steps are preserved.


Of course, policy makers have to include some more, shall we say, sticky situations when it comes to mobile. If a device is set to automatically sync when connected to a pc, you may not be unduly concerned about a bunch of grumpy cat photos, but what if images are rather more personal? Nobody wants an employee to mis-click in a presentation only to find their home-made adult images displayed in all their glory on a big screen (there are some things the tech charged with cleaning the device cannot un-see). For this reason, we suggest policies include guidance for users as well as strong tools that protect everyone’s modesty.


There are plenty of other considerations: whether devices should be able to email addresses outside the organisation, what documents can be shared, and of course, how you secure your network in the mobile era. As a technology specialist, we often help our clients to work through the practical elements of making BYOD a success. Our most important piece of advice, though, is that you don’t just leave mobile and BYOD policy to the IT experts. Specialist legal advice is a vital ingredient – the icing on the cake.


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