BYOD: Opening Up a Dialogue Between IT and the End User

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If a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme is not properly managed and implemented, then things can potentially go badly wrong for employer and employee. Employees who bring their own Smartphone or iPad to work and expect to be able to access the same apps and programmes they do on company devices may find easy ways around any obstacles which they encounter.

One of the main problems is that most mobile devices are created for consumers and not for corporate needs so the apps and programmes which they support are often not suited to both purposes. IT departments may find themselves having to untangle the resulting mess… and it can create a mess if the end user is tech-savvy enough to find risky shortcuts.

Data protection and user security require a balanced decision being made by CEO’s and IT departments working together with employees to come up with a solution that satisfies all parties. Of course employees want the convenience of using their own devices at work and at home whether for personal or work related activities but the cost of allowing this can be substantial unless the arrangement is well managed.

As the general public become more informed about cloud services and consumer apps they want to take advantage of them and use them for content sharing and collaboration… after all they make lives easier and save time so it’s not surprising that more and more employees are making use of BYOD.

It is here that the challenge lies because consumer hardware and consumer software was never built with business use in mind… predictions are that consumer devices will be twice as much at risk of security breaches in the next two years than any business owned devices.

IT professionals understand the risks of BYOD perhaps more than anyone and they realise that processes need to change and policies need to be implemented to keep up with the demand for BYOD and yet maintain appropriate security levels. Opening up a dialogue with end-users regarding BYOD and the implementation of rigorous policies to control it is the only way to ensure that all parties are protected with what is occurring in the workplace.

One healthcare provider recently discovered no less than 60 mobile devices were using the corporate network when managers were aware of only four official devices. This rather frightening discovery is thought to be quite typical at the moment with its connotations for data security so IT departments need to attempt as much dialogue as possible with end-users in order to glean information with regards to the apps and devices which are preferred and actively in use.

When IT departments and end-users are in agreement about how a BYOD system should function within a particular organisation then they can begin to control and to manage the systems safely. Clearly, there needs to be a large amount of trust involved in this process and at no time should a workforce be made to feel as though they are “under investigation” as this may push some users into subterfuge regarding apps and systems which are not thought to be secure.

Employees generally know what programmes and apps they like and why; IT Departments should open up the way for information sharing by looking at their options with respect to mobile device management systems, which will lead to the safe implementation of BYOD without a break down in communication.

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