In my last post, I discussed the gap between business units that enthusiastically embrace BYOD and IT departments, where BYOD is regarded with more hesitation.
Yet it’s clear: BYOD is not only here to stay, it is quickly becoming a dominant force that IT departments must deal with. And in most circumstances “just say no” isn’t an option; BYOD offers employees too many rich opportunities to boost productivity, innovation, and collaboration.
So what’s an IT department — your IT department — to do?
Step 1: Recognize key BYOD operational challenges
Security. Without the right network access strategies and rules, you may end up with gaping holes in your security, lost or compromised data, or network availability issues. Capabilities like data encryption, identity and audit management, and access controls are important, but you need a strategic framework within which to apply them.
Mobile device policy. Employees typically use at least three devices now, some use four or five. So you’ll need to develop rules for BYOD registration, configuration, access, and use that don’t encourage users to adopt shadow IT solutions. You’ll also need to be able to monitor and, to some extent, control those devices, and the corporate data they access.
Compliance/governance. BYOD requires new kinds of risk assessments and auditing. You’ll need to identify these, especially if you operate in a regulated industry, and field the tools necessary to minimize risk and comply with industry rules.
Sustaining infrastructure performance. BYOD requires integration of wired and wireless network capabilities and will likely impact network traffic, especially if your company uses cloud services. You’ll likely need to develop a strategy for adapting your network and infrastructure for both current and new technologies as consumerization continues to impact how your employees utilize evolving mobile capabilities.
Step 2: Establish BYOD policy
Effectively integrating BYOD while protecting your data and infrastructure assets begins with getting policy right. Without a BYOD policy, you may find your firm among the 20% of enterprises that, Gartner believes , will end up with failed BYOD projects by 2016. Pay particular attention to mobile device policies supporting the ability to:
- Automatically apply and enforce access and use policies
- Move seamlessly and securely among networks
- Secure access to wired, Wi-Fi, remote, and mobile corporate networks
- Configure devices (including for dual personas)
- Monitor and remotely wipe corporate data
- Enable users to log in to multiple devices simultaneously
- Field simple, user-friendly authentication for all devices
- Power corporate collaboration tools that work on all end-user devices
Step 3: Anticipate a high-octane BYOD future
Whatever you’re doing to enable BYOD, it’s just the beginning, because extraordinarily powerful new technologies are coming fast. In addition to wearable devices, mobile-connected smart objects, and high-precision location sensing, your BYOD stance will be impacted by:
- New Wi-Fi standards
- New cellular technologies (LTE/LTE-A)
- Advances in mobile device management incorporating apps and file sharing/syncing
- HTML5 and multi-platform/multi-architecture app development tools
- A new generation of metrics/monitoring tools (application performance monitoring)
Fortunately, you don’t have to take the BYOD journey alone. A trusted technology advisor can help you figure out what your firm needs, and can forego, to bring BYOD into IT fold.