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The expansion of Information Technology (IT) into the business world has made it possible for employees to use smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices to stay connected to the enterprise.
Businesses have two choices: issue devices owned by the company; or have the employees bring their own devices (BYOD).
Predictions are that by 2014, 90 percent of all employers will provide software applications for employees who want to BYOD. By 2017, 50 percent of all employers will require their employees to BYOD.
There are safeguards that the enterprise needs to implement in order to protect proprietary information, but experts generally agree that the benefits outweigh the negatives.
BYOD will increase revenue by keeping costs down.
It is common knowledge that employees often use their personal devices for business purposes and use business devices for personal reasons. BYOD acknowledges this and makes the best of both worlds by having one device. The device is owned by the employee, but the business data is owned by the enterprise.
• Enterprise expenses for the cost of the devices are reduced because the employee purchases and maintains the device. Employers may supplement the cost of the device, but this still results in a reduced outlay of capital.
• A recent survey of 1,100 workers found that those who BYOD put in 240 more work hours annually than those who do not. This increase in productivity of workers results in an overall increase in revenue to the enterprise.
• Employees do not need to take time to submit expense reports because management device controls allow the enterprise to identify costs of usage by the individual employer at any given time.
Management controls are necessary to protect corporate data.
Businesses that allow or require employees to use their own devices to access business data must establish safeguards for their use. Some suggestions are:
• Require each device to be registered with the enterprise.
• Implement software that allows the enterprise to track who is logged on and monitor user enterprise activity.
• Limit the number of devices that one user can register.
• Network should only be accessible with an IP address from the registered device.
Importance of software programs.
In order to maintain company security and misuse of company data, the enterprise needs to be able to use over-the-air (OTA) programming to remotely configure the devices. The enterprise needs to be able to:
• Install software programs that restrict access only to registered devices and users.
• Securely access the mobile devices that are registered to the enterprise.
• Be able to block the device from access to the enterprise at any given moment.
• Have the capability to remotely erase data from any device at any time.
• Have a back-up system so any lost data can be restored.
The access and use of data from the BYOD must be secure and all sensitive proprietary information as well as trade secrets must be protected.
With the rapid changes in technology, employees often have more sophisticated devices and upgrade more frequently than employers. On the other hand, employers are more concerned about security and safety of their data. The trend to BYOD seems to incorporate and integrate the best of both approaches.
About the author: Matt Smith is a Dell employee who writes to help raise awareness on the topic of BYOD and other network management subjects.