Embracing BYOD Will Future-Proof Your Organization

By Ian Evans

The rapid expansion of employee owned (BYOD) and corporate-issued consumer devices in the enterprise has the potential to usher in new levels of user productivity and convenience. Unfortunately, this also means a three to four-fold increase in the number of end points.

This isn’t something we can ignore – BYOD is happening, but with limited capacity to ensure the consistent enforcement of corporate policy and no possibility of a manage IT headcount increase, how do you make BYOD work to reduce operational costs while delivering on productivity?

Organizations are promoting BYOD to enable employees, company-wide, to be more flexible and productive. There are benefits of having non-corporate devices – businesses can start to get employees to respond to things outside of working hours, but that’s not the main driver behind BYOD.

The real driver is to capture the next generation of people that come into our organization who have grown up not knowing what a newspaper feels like. Basically, if organizations don’t do this, they are going to end up with an organization that nobody will want to join in five years. Embracing BYOD is necessary to future-proof an organization. 

Next – embrace the complexities of BYOD

The urgency to embrace BYOD doesn’t mean that it is simple or absent of complexities. While organizations need to think about empowering employees, they also have to think about how that device works inside the four walls and the datacentre, as well as how it connects to and identifies itself to the network.

There are many different strategies around BYOD; some as simple as application deployment or even corporate application catalogues. What underpins all of these is making sure employees have a safe, secure place to get the right apps and versions they need to do their job.  

 To learn more about BYOD, read this three-part series: 

Typically, an unmanaged device would be placed outside of the network and connected solely to the application catalogue. This contrasts to a fully managed device that’s tunnelling its way into a datacentre and integrated into a financial application for example, approving transactions and invoices or ordering products out of a warehouse. When you start to look at this level of integration, it doesn’t really matter if this is BYOD or a corporate device. The job is getting done and getting results.

An added complexity however is whether this job is getting done securely. That’s when you need to think about how to onboard devices into an organization to ensure corporate data remains safe but also keeping the privacy of the employee confidential.

Once inside the organization, devices need to follow a policy driven process, which supports the use case. At any point in time, should anything compromise this process, organizations need to stop access to that device. It’s a difficult job, because there’s a fine line when it comes to restricting access to a certain extent that still enables employees, as well as making sure that corporate data is retained without damaging anything personal on the device.

To embrace this change and the evolution of IT in the last 20 years or so, organizations must find ways to empower people and find workarounds. organizations will start to understand how it can grow organically, with new people that is already embracing this technology themselves.

The intelligence from this will enable organizations to think about how it can grow in other areas. What lessons can be taken from this to make use of social media or the internet of things. That is how BYOD needs to be tackled, by asking – how do I make this new way of communicating work for me.

Ian Evans is vice president and managing director for the EMEA region at mobility management (EMM) provider, AirWatch by VMware.





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