The use of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies has grown considerably in recent years. According to a 2015 Spiceworks survey, 85 percent of organizations support the use of personally owned devices and hope to achieve higher productivity, lower IT costs and improved business continuity. However, there are also some challenges involved with rising BYOD adoption, not the least of which are security and privacy. Organizations need to extend data protection considerations to employee-owned devices. Failure to manage regulatory exposure could leave the organization in noncompliance with regulations that demand that personally identifiable or other sensitive information is protected.

To do this, organizations need to control who accesses what resources and protect those resources against theft, unsanctioned modification and misuse. They must also ensure that devices are not infected with malware or other vulnerabilities that could lead to business system compromises or data breaches. Yet, at the center, employers need to respect the privacy of users, ensuring that only those people and others that they directly authorize can view what is on their device.

According to Susan Nash, Vice President of End User Computing for VMWare, strategies for BYOD adoption vary from company to company, and from industry to industry, because of these challenges. Organizations in highly regulated industries tend to follow a strategy of using only corporate-issued devices. In the education sector, some school districts loan tablets to students, while others allow pupils to use their own devices of choice. Each organization must decide what is best for its own needs, but must constantly evaluate how well their chosen strategy is working, especially as requirements change over time.

Overcoming BYOD Challenges

Nash provides a number of pointers for organizations looking to overcome the challenges involved in BYOD adoption. Firstly, organizations should position BYOD as a perk, emphasizing that the point of flexibility and freedom is to help employees do their jobs more productively and efficiently. They should establish clear policies and terms of use that outline the user’s role in protecting the device, including any security software that is required. The policy should also stress that user privacy is a major concern and specify what information the IT department can and cannot manage on users’ devices.

To ensure that BYOD adoption can be fully supported, an organization must ensure that its network architecture is able to handle growth in Wi-FiĀ® traffic. For this, Nash recommends that organizations invest in enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology and leverage existing policies developed for corporate devices. They should extend these necessary policies, apps and content from one central console. Finally, the IT department should be prepared to take on a consulting role. This is because the influx of personally owned mobile devices into corporate networks, along with the cloud-hosted data that they access, has fundamentally changed the way IT departments operate. They will be required to troubleshoot a much wider range of devices and must be prepared for many diverse requests from users.

The Importance of EMM

Many organizations have invested in mobile device management (MDM) technologies, which enable mobile security at the most fundamental level: that of the device itself. It provides the ability to configure advanced device management and monitoring settings through profiles, which can be applied based on operating system or device ownership type, enabling greater control of corporate-deployed devices. MDM protects data stored on the unit or in applications at the device level by prohibiting unauthorized actions, such as attempts to root or jailbreak the device, download malicious apps or install malware.

However, Nash explains that many organizations are looking for greater control in the form of EMM technologies, which include mobile app, content, email, browser, container, laptop, telecommunications, rugged and multiuser management. EMM provides a richer set of features, all of which are controlled through a single, centralized console, which greatly simplifies enabling mobile use.

EMM enables organizations to embrace business mobility and BYOD adoption by transforming workflows and processes. It empowers employees to work on their preferred devices and provides the apps, data and content that they need to perform their work, all while keeping corporate data safe and secure. Additionally, EMM delivers a consumer-grade experience paired with enterprise-grade security while protecting user privacy. It is configurable so that specific policies and configurations can be delivered to employees according to their role, region or group. Apps, data and content are all sent in a safe and secure manner. With EMM, any organization will be able to fully achieve its mobility goals.

BYOD Done Right is a Win-Win for Workforce Mobility from Samsung Business USA

While the benefits of a mobile-enabled workforce are undeniable and far-reaching, implementing BYOD can be challenging and too often forces IT to make compromises. Read this whitepaper from Frost & Sullivan to learn how integrating the capabilities of Samsung KNOX and AirWatch by VMWare provides a compromise-free approach to workforce mobility.