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Author's profile photo Milja Gillespie

Recommended Actions for Embracing BYOD

BYOD is a trend that I think we can all agree isn’t going away. In fact, according to the research presented by Andrew Borg in the Enterprise Grade Strategies for BYOD webcast, it is only going to increase. According to Aberdeen’s research, today 75% of companies allow employees to bring their own device to work for work purposes. Of these, 51% allow any device and 24% allow only ‘compliant’ devices – ones that the company has put on an ‘approved’ list. The 75% number is pretty significant, but there are still a lot of hold outs. We say trend isn’t going away, but of course I like to look at what the data says. Andrew dove a little deeper into the statistics and found that for those 25% of companies who don’t allow BYOD today, a third of them plan to allow BYOD in the future. It’s exciting to see that BYOD is now a common business practice that almost all companies are dealing with or considering.

What is not yet a common business practice is how to handle the technology side of the house. This is where I think you’ll gain the most insight from Andrew’s whitepaper and the content shared in the webinar. There is a stark difference in how different groups of companies are managing the BYOD invasion – there are clear lines drawn between the Leaders, Average and Laggards. I hope that by sharing this research with you that you will be among the leaders making BYOD successful for your business.

After delving through the fantastic research, and learning first hand from how leaders are acting, Andrew has compiled a great resource for you to consider as you embark on the BYOD road. In order to prepare for the invasion, Aberdeen recommends that IT take the following actions:

  • Start with Mobile Device Management. Here is where the line starts to be drawn – only 23% of Laggards centrally manage their mobile devices – putting them at great risk. This is a crucial first step in establishing IT control over the mobile ecosystem. I urge you to consider that MDM is only a start. You really need to consider a comprehensive Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution to address all of your mobility need (more on that later)
  • Secure the tablets. I find this fascinating and a little surprising.  According to Andrew’s research companies are securing tablets at half the rate of smartphones.  Is this because IT is rushing to deliver the latest ‘cool‘ thing and are forgetting about security? Andrew states that 75% of the Best-in-Class have deployed them without the most basic security measures in place, such as lock and wipe of lost or stolen tablets. Scary!
  • Put IT back in charge. In this era of an incredibly broad range of devices, and policies that may be unclear and undefined, be sure to keep IT at the core. The Aberdeen research shows that Best-in-Class organizations have taken the lead in integrating their EMM efforts under IT Service Management principles, part of the global movement towards IT practice standardization.
  • Ensure that policy is in place and compliance is enforced. My favourite three words when it comes to policy creation are communicate, communicate and communicate. It’s not enough to simply create your policies – you have to communicate them and enforce them.
  • Create and maintain an up-to-date device inventory. To keep a handle on BYOD you really to know exactly what is out there. Andrew’s research shows that sixty-seven percent (67%) of the Best-in-Class maintain an inventory of all mobile devices with network access, as opposed to only 38% of Laggards. After all, if you don’t know what is out there, how on earth can you secure it?
  • Plan for multiple smart devices per user. I love asking this question in a crowd – “How many smart devices do you have?”  I have about 4 – an iPhone, and iPad, a BlackBerry Playbook and an Android smartphone. Every time I ask this question I get a range of 2-5 devices per person (ok some are gadget freaks, but the theory holds) – the typical business user now has more than one mobile device – and many probably have 2 or 3. Solutions which assume one unique device per user (like those driven by email address) may be inadequate.
  • Evolve to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). We started off in the first recommendation talking about MDM – which is a good place to start. But keep in mind that MDM is not the be all and end all of mobility management.  There is much more to consider to truly manage mobility. This includes security, application management, TEM management and more. To dive into EMM in more detail, check out the webcast and blog postings on the Mobile Sense site.

If you are interested in listening to the webinar sharing all of this great data and hearing from Andrew first hand, please register to listen to Andrew speak on Tuesday October 4th.

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