Bring Your Own Device – Another one of the buzzwords, basically a term encompassing the fact that workers use “their own tools for the job” that they do, in addition to/or instead of existing supplied equipment of the company.
Actually starting with a negative, can there be an advantage letting people loose on your corporate/enterprise network with their own equipment?
Well two key advantages are financial, physically saving money on supplying hardware to staff, off set by the second advantage that staff have freedom to work with equipment that they are familiar with (possibly reducing training time) ,and increasing their productivity allowing completion of work at the office and from home.
Instead of Fred nervously carrying the laptop around the office (like a waiter with the shakes) to show people something, how much easier would it be if he had his own tablet. Staff with smart phones could utilise VOIP to associate their deskphone to their mobile, so if waiting for the important call they can still get lunch, or attend a briefing and still be contactable. Improving productivity away from the desk.
IT Managers grey hair! Opening up the network to possible insecure external devices opens immediate risks, after all a family laptop may have visited various sites and contain bots, malware or even worst a virus all of which could spell the downfall of the network.
The spanner to knock in a nail: No matter how impressive someone’s smartphone is, is there really an advantage on running a desktop app on a 4 inch screen? Ensuring people are using the most suitable device for the work is also imperative. Support workload, expecting IT to cover the possible myriad devices & software available is unrealistic, so again some guidance will be required.
Security, obvious first smartphone/tablet/laptops allowed access to the network should have antivirus software. There’s a wide variety but they all cover the fundamental basic protection of the device itself. Again the user should be familiar with what they use, so IT involvement is purely an initial check to ensure the software suffices and is kept up to date. User responsibility is paramount.
Device transport, the device is outside the office and runs the risk of the loss of a device that contains, or has access to the company information or systems is another serious risk. Locking screens, secure the device even ensuring that the device is remotely wipeable should be considerations by staff and IT so as not to leave doors wide open.
Compatibility to the network, allowing the use of VPN or even remote desktop enables the BYOD device to utilise the information and application software from the network system, from a walled secure garden the “kids can play” but you know their safe J
Desktop Virtualisation can be one of the simpler offerings for staff to connect to with their device. Again cost effective, easy to maintain and repair for IT support, and the device visibility (what’s actually on the network that not yours is easier to control). Also offers accessibility on the move from a “single” easily controlled point of access.
The key to working BYOD is policy/rules, awareness to existing and new recruited staff is essential. Governing rules as to the amount of support BYOD staff can expect, should limit lost/wasted time. Rules over proper acceptable use and privacy should be documented for awareness too.
Reimbursement are you paying staff to use their own equipment /broadband access etc ? That too will need consideration for the implications that could affect company policy