Bring Your Own Device: Enterprise solutions

Rob Borley
by
on 31 October 2012

As technology has advanced and the love affair between consumers and their mobile phones has intensified, you could say that the invasion of personal computing equipment into the enterprise space has been inevitable. However, few could have predicted the pace at which the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon has taken hold. 

The BYOD phenomenon

Just a couple of years ago the iPad didn’t exist and the idea of employees using personal smartphones for corporate email and applications was beyond consideration. Now, according to Forrester, nearly 60% of organisations are embracing a BYOD programme. We herd from Apples Tim Cook  at the recent launch of the iPad mini that 80% of fortune 500 companies are rolling out or trialing iPads. I find this claim very easy to believe simply by considering the new work and enquiries that come across my desk at Dootrix.

Previously mobility in enterprise meant that the selected few, company executives and salespeople, would be handed a standard issue BlackBerry. Now BYOD means that employees can bring their own smartphones and tablets and connect them to corporate systems. This is a great advance. Employees love to bring their own devices into the office. And mobile, connected employees are happier and more productive. As the owner of enterprise IT you just need to be confident of the security and management capabilities of your infrastructure so that you can make the most of this opportunity. Simple?

The risk

BYOD is a risk to your business. Your employees will have access to your network and your corporate data and resources from a mobile, non-standard device. This is, after all, the point. Unlike a PC in a physical location, or even a tightly controlled BlackBerry, the in-vogue mobile devices are varied and offer no consistent way for IT managers to secure their infrastructure.

Remember, the move to BYOD means that employees can access your sensitive data whenever and wherever they want to. What if they leave their iPad on a train with no passcode enabled? How about using GDrive or Dropbox to synchronise sensitive data? Using an insecure public wifi network is a growing problem. Users’ installing non-compliant games and apps on their device is the norm. And, of course, at some point they will leave your company and take with them your apps and your data. These are just some of the challenges that an enterprise has to overcome to run a successful BYOD programme.

The BYOD management challenge

Assuming that the security concerns are overcome, the day-to-day management of BYOD is still problematic. Even before you start a programme you need to decide which devices are supported and how you are going to enforce that policy. What about apps? What will you make available to different groups of users from what is available, both now and in the future, and how will you provision them? You will have to manage updates, patching, and rollout of these applications too.

When you consider the pace of the consumer mobile market in terms of how quickly devices and technologies come and go, how are you going to manage the pace of adoption, device turnover, and even the number of devices per each user? Tracking users from device to device so that their files, folders, preferences etc can seamlessly follow them around without issues of syncing and potential data loss is a considerable challenge. Managing the profiles of the users as they move around the organisation through departmental changes, promotions or even leave the company is potentially a costly management overhead too.

In this very fluid landscape of a more mobile workforce with an ever changing device set you need to find a way of setting and updating policies so that you can map them to users and devices while being able to update them with minimum fuss as your business and its needs change. You will need to be able to monitor and support active devices as well as be able to react to issues such as device loss or theft. You also need an overview of all mobile activity on your network as well as device compliance and the capacity to act on non-compliance quickly. Can you see your mobile assests along side your traditional IT so that you can manage an all-encompassing security and compliance profile?

The solution

So now you know. What you need is a mobile device management solution that secures your business while simplifying deployment and facilitating administration of the complete user experience. It’s really simple when you say it like that. It’s certainly a really exciting challenge to be a part of.

If this is something that you would like to discuss then please get in touch.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter for free advice delivered to your inbox on a fortnightly basis.

Related articles