BYOD Bring your own device (BYOD) policies have been growing in popularity over the years and they continue to be questioned as the right strategy for organizations as they look to successfully mobilize staff. Debates over corporate data security continually pressure company’s IT and management to seriously consider the best approach for mobile data collection and analysis. As we look at best practices for a successful BYOD strategy please keep in mind that BYOD may not be for every company, but it can be the best for yours.

As we learn more about why BYOD has become more popular we need to understand the trends that fuel adoption. Mobile computing has evolved rapidly as device manufacturers increased their focus on mobilization and introduced more powerful smartphones that have empowered consumers to do more with less. Desktop PCs gave way to laptops and now notebooks and tablets have rapidly grown in popularity. Smartphones have become the norm for almost everyone and larger phones or “phablets” are more popular than ever. Consumers, and most importantly employees, can do more with less as they have become accustomed to their preferred device in helping them become significantly more productive.

Mobile workers today rely on mobile technologies to keep them connected with a sense of empowerment to use the tools they need to help them be successful. Personal preference and user experience are key to fueling increased productivity and more transparency from the field. This all brings us back to how businesses can leverage this trend to help minimize overhead while fueling profitability.

Buy vs Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Since device security and BYOD have become pervasive, the decision to buy versus BYOD has become dependent on organizational preference and/or regulatory constraints. Buying versus BYOD also has implications in regard to cost, support, security, and employee adoption.

With BYOD, acquisition cost and employee adoption decrease, but support can be an issue for your IT staff. Having to staff in order to support BYOD with a myriad of different manufacturers, models, operating systems, etc. increases costs in other areas. The good news is that many of the smart device manufacturers have improved stability, so the struggles to support devices have decreased significantly over the last few years.

If you are leaning towards purchasing devices for staff, then your acquisition costs can be high, employee adoption can be slow, and support costs may be lowered because of standardization. You also need to consider the use case for the device and make the right buy decision considering environment, reliability, and usability. Have your staff (the users) involved in the buying decision so that you minimize the friction of user acceptance. You don’t have to buy the best, but for harsh conditions or excessive use, do not go cheap with your investment.

BYOD and Security

No matter if you buy or adopt, BYOD security is another consideration. Security tools for mobile devices have matured to the point that there are virtually no stories from the press that a data breach was caused by someone’s tablet or smartphone. Mobile device management (MDM) tools have given the organization the ability to maintain oversight on application security for both personal and business-owned devices. You can install and manage remotely so that IT can maintain oversight and your staff. If a staff member loses a device or it’s stolen you can remotely wipe the data ensure that your company assets are protected.

Developing a Corporate Mobile Policy

Finally, for either case of buying or BYOD, you need to develop a corporate mobile device user policy for both company-owned and BYOD device preferences. Specific guidelines around device, corporate data use and security should be clearly defined, and staff should be educated. You should also have employees acknowledge acceptance and sign off on the policy document. No matter what you decide for your mobile device strategy, always consider the end goal and how your field staff will use devices to complete their work. In today’s mobile connected world, user experience should be the key focus for success.

At Kordata, we’ve worked with a significant number of organizations that have both company-owned and BYOD devices. I would be more than happy to share with you our experiences with each approach. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you’d like to learn more.

Erin.hutchison@kordata.com Mobile (208) 854-7988