Noted consulting firm Deloitte recently surveyed South African companies about their BYOD policies, and here’s what they found: 75 percent of their workers were bringing their personal mobile devices — smartphones and tablets — to work. While 90 percent of those companies allowed BYOD email access, their policies stopped there. This unnecessarily locks those employees away from being able to use their own equipment that they purchase and maintain on their own dime from doing the work that they want to do — capture data and reviewing reports and other documents. With an effective policy and strategy, companies can unlock file systems and company applications for these devices, improving productivity at little or no additional cost.
Step One: Managing Devices
Just because a device is employee-owned doesn’t mean that a company can’t have some control over it. Mobile device-management (MDM) systems allow companies to secure their data on their employee’s devices. With MDM, a company can remotely wipe or lock down sensitive information, protecting it when an employee loses his or her phone or is terminated. Furthermore, many MDM solutions are platform-independent, preserving the employee’s ability to choose the device that he or she prefers.
Step Two: Controlling Expenses
When a company brings employee devices into its network, it also brings employee data traffic onto the network. Adding some basic bandwidth management tools or extending the ones that a company already possesses can help reduce the risk of abuse, potentially lowering the cost of providing network services.
Step Three: Offering Apps
Creating a company-specific application helps employees use their own devices more efficiently. Company-sponsored apps, whether built in-house or by a third party, provide a centralized area to access useful internal and external resources. The apps can also serve as a gateway to company documents and resources, whether they are stored in the cloud or on company-controlled servers. Furthermore, while the app’s primary purpose is to increase a worker’s access to information, having a central application to do it also gives the company an easy way to monitor that worker’s activities and to shut down that access if necessary.
BYOD policies ultimately aren’t about limiting what employees can do. Designed well, a company BYOD policy embraces employee willingness to invest their own resources in their position. This embrace can both protect corporate data and increase productivity.