A quick scan of any recent business publication or website will give you the sense that offices will soon be a thing of the past as we all trade in the desk for a cozy telecommuting gig. While telecommuting may be on the rise, we’re a far cry from working on the couch.
On the other hand, mobile is drastically changing the way employees get productive, bringing smart phones, tablets and other smart electronics to work in an effort to get more done quickly. Especially in the Northeast (61% according to a 2014 Staples Survey), more companies are allowing a Bring Your Own Device (B.Y.O.D.) approach to both telecommuting and in-office work.
The reality is that your employees are using their own technology to get things done. This can be as simple as recharging a personal tablet from a networked PC or as involved as using a smartphone as a hub to access information, handle business communications while on the road and tie together essential job functions with the newest apps available.
Some real life examples you’ll probably see right now if you walk through the office may include:
- Receiving and storing corporate email on a personal smartphones or tablets
- Using files sharing apps (Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, etc.) to exchange documents between personal devices and corporate PCs
- Recharging phones or tablets on a networked desktop computer
- Using mobile hot spots to access blocked websites
- Saving documents to external hard drives or personal jump drives to take work home or while on the road
- Uploading photos from smart cameras (with WIFI)
- Using personal laptops at work or using a company computer to work on personal projects.
While B.Y.O.D. offers a number of advantages, including increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and attraction of top talent, it’s not without risk. For a networked environment, external devices can present a clear risk of introducing malware and viruses as well as a potential for data loss or breach due to lost or stolen devices.
The bottom line is that your employees are bringing technology to work and using it to do their jobs. Your company can embrace B.Y.O.D. by taking some basic steps.
Implement a B.Y.O.D. strategy – Sure, it’s important to have a policy in place to govern what devices and apps can and can’t be used and in what way. But for B.Y.O.D. and the rapidly changing landscape of mobile, creating a strategy for technology may be more useful for implementation than just a policy, which gets read once (if we’re lucky; let’s be honest) and quickly forgotten. Bring in IT, human resources, sales and legal to develop your strategy. And involve your employees. What do they want from their technology? How do they work? What makes sense from a risk standpoint and what’s feasible to handle with hardware and software to minimize risk?
Manage the data, not the device – Remember that the value is in the data on the device, not in the device itself. By focusing on data management, you can reduce the risk to your company of infection from malicious, hitchhiking ware and chance of breach from a lost or stolen device. Device security alone won’t help secure company data. Go beyond forcing a password on the phone.
Employ a Mobile Device Management Service – Certain products allow companies to control what can and cannot be installed or stored on personal devices. Corporate approved apps can monitor and manage while the personal aspects of the device (photos, personal email, personal contacts) are left alone. In the event of loss of the phone, or termination of employment, the corporate information can be remotely purged leaving the personal information behind.
When we look at the trends around use of personal devices for work, we see that employees are embracing technology that gives them an edge, boosts productivity, and that helps them do their job.
To find out more about B.Y.O.D. and how the cloud can help you manage risk, contact us for a network assessment.