We know we've talked about this in a previous blog, but thought it was worth taking another look.
'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) programs are popping up in an increasing number of companies all over the country. BYOD is changing the way most companies do business, and it's a bandwagon many are eager to jump on. Employees are certainly clamoring for BYOD programs in their workplaces as well. Convenience to both the company and employees is making this the corporate trend of the future.
One of the biggest concerns with BYOD policies is company security. When valuable (and often proprietary) information is stored on an employee's personal electronic device, it's important for the company to make sure that information is contained. Therefore, certain security measures must be put into place. The first and arguably most important security measure pertains to apps.
A company can't rely on public app stores, they need a private app store that can provide and manage all authorized apps, according to TechRepublic. It should be made clear to employees which apps are authorized for use on their personal devices and which are not. The private app store can keep track of what apps each employee has on their device to ensure compliance.
Password management is also critical. There must be a central password management program in place at every company that allows employees to use their own devices for work. The company should make password protection mandatory and should generate passwords for each employee. This provides the greatest level of protection should the device be stolen.
Finally, standards for the type of device being used must be in place. Rogue devices can not be allowed, as they have too many potential security holes. Rogue devices include outdated smartphones, jail-broken iPhones and rooted Androids. Employees must be given a clear list of what devices may and may not be used for work.
Of the developed world, only Europe has been slow to adopt BYOD policies, according to ComputerWorld. This may be due to a concern about security. Companies are scrambling to update their BYOD security policies. Once a company has a security program in place, training sessions can take place and handbooks can be printed and given to every employee if there are questions. Informed employees are largely compliant employees.
Further, mandatory monitoring of device usage can help the company make sure it is not spending too much on employee device stipends. Companies shouldn't be paying a stipend to devices that aren't being used.
At the onset of the BYOD revolution, many companies restricted personal device use to BlackBerry devices. The BlackBerry has long been regarded as the quintessential business device. With a host of security features built in, most companies have had BlackBerry-only BYOD policies from the beginning.
BlackBerry, in turn, quickly recognized the BYOD trend and the reliance employers were placing on their devices. BlackBerry immediately took control of the dominance it was handed in this growing trend and started marketing its superiority for BYOD programs to company presidents and IT managers. The company even designed the new BlackBerry OS specifically for BYOD programs, and has added special security features to these devices that will appeal to program managers. BlackBerry has pioneered the revolution.
Today, BlackBerry is still the go-to device at work. However, they're not the only player in town anymore. Other smartphone companies are just beginning to tentatively step in and some haven't begun to market to that sector at all.
Hank is a poet at heart and a business analyst during the day.
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