The path to BYOD

Then came the digital world. Computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones cost way more than paper clips, so employees still depended on corporate-provided tools.

Now, employees have these devices at home for their own use and depend on them for everything from surfing the web to texting their friends to snapping photos of their kids’ bar mitzvahs. For some, they’re virtual appendages.

And because so many employees are familiar with their devices to the point they’re almost one and the same, wouldn’t it be easier (and cheaper) for companies to let their workers “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD)?

However, BYOD brings up the issue of security. What if an outsider becomes privy to sensitive and private insider information? Computers, after all, have been known to get hacked. Also, a lost flash drive can fall into the wrong hands. Security, though, doesn’t have to be overly expensive.

Bring Your Own Device and security

An innovative security provider is Route 1, Inc., a small start-up with two huge clients: the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. The company uses a patented technology that came with a $30m development price tag. However, it offers small businesses that used BYOD security options for less than $300 per person annually.

Each worker receives a MobiKEY in Route 1’s system. This USB-type gadget plugs into a computer and allows the employee to see and information on their work desktop. An employee also can view information on the main office computer without copying data on his or her hard drive.

BlackBerry BYOD technology provides a user-friendly method that helps the company and employees user their device without compromising each other. The technology is built into BlackBerry ten smartphones.

A BlackBerry Balance user can switch from Personal Space to Work Space with a simple gesture. The Work Space is encrypted, secured and managed. It also keeps crucial company information and apps protected. The employees benefit too because they still have their desired mobile experience.

The technology is managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, which enables multi-platform Enterprise Mobility Management. A console lets the customer manage groups, apps, users, devices and servers. These include those that run on BlackBerry, Android and iOS.

Set parameters

If businesses do implement BYOD, CIO has seven suggestions for making a successful policy.

  1. Specify what devices are allowed;
  2. Devise a strong security policy, such as creating strong passwords;
  3. Define a service policy;
  4. Decide who owns data and apps;
  5. Define what apps will be permitted;
  6. Integrate BYOD with an acceptable use policy; and
  7. Set up an employee exit strategy. 
This includes backing up a user’s personal information and photos during the “exit swipe.”

CIO reports it’s estimated the number of smartphones used globally will reach 2bn by the end of 2015. With so many people using smartphones, it’s probably a wise business decision for a company to tap into employee’s personal technological habits to benefit the corporate world as well.

Vickie May blogs about all things computers, mobile and technology in general.

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