Mobility management is a huge topic. Why, you ask? Just look at the simple stats. It is estimated that 90% of American adults have a cell phone. More impressively, 58% own a smartphone and 42% own a tablet. Moreover, 75% of employees are bringing these devices to work or using them for work purposes.
Needless to say, smartphones are an integrated part of our work life and social culture. In light of these startling numbers, organizations should seriously consider implementing some form of a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy to ensure that the company information their employees are carrying in their pockets is protected.
A recent survey by Deloitte and ITWeb showed that 90% of respondents use their mobile devices to access emails. However, very few can access documents or file systems. Most respondents say that they would prefer to use their devices to view critical documents such as reports, or to capture information. This in particular is very important for organizations. Rather than see devices as potential threats, companies should leverage these devices into powerful tools that they can use to their advantage.
In order to accomplish this, there are a couple of approaches that a company should consider to create an effective BYOD strategy.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a critical starting point for a BYOD strategy. Proper management of mobile devices allows companies to secure employee devices and the information they contain.
Again, to fully understand the importance of this solution, you need only to refer to the stats. A recently released report postulates that as many as 4.5 million smartphones were lost or stolen in the U.S. in 2013. This number is up from 2.8 million in 2012. Knowing this impacts organizations for a number of reasons.
With an MDM policy in place, a company can perform functions such as remotely wiping stolen devices, or even restrict access to sensitive information. The beauty of mobile device management is that these systems are software and device agnostic. Any security rule can be applied across multiple devices and systems from a central point. Because of this, an employee can use their own device, which they are probably most proficient in using, without the employer having to worry about sensitive data getting leaked.
Beyond Mobile Device Management, a policy for BYOD also needs to account for Expense Management. Since the device itself is taken care of by the employee, many organizations find they are taken advantage through the use of company Wi-Fi. This abuse can also include subsidized data packages provided by the company to the employee, wherein the the employee regularly utilizes company data or wi-fi for non-work related actvities.
Using a solution to monitor and manage these expenses strengthens the overall success of a BYOD policy, since it restricts expenditure while curbing abuse of company bandwidth. BYOD isn’t meant to be about restriction. Rather, it is about enablement. Employees are already bringing their devices to work, so why not take a step toward bridging the technology gap that can dramatically increase efficiency in a company.
With employees already comfortable with their device, productivity will increase while any mobile related training will decrease. And, with a plan to include MDM and Expense Management, a company can be assured they will limit security breaches and excess expenses.