BYOD for the CIO: Maximize Productivity While Maintaining Security

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The Promise of BYOD

Surveys of thousands of BYOD users across the world have shown an average productivity boost of one hour per week for employees. However, many of the positive stories about BYOD are found only in the marketing of vendors selling a BYOD product or solution. Often these stories are in the form of customer case studies or "dogfood" stories where the vendor has embraced and benefited from its own BYOD solution.

The promises of significantly reduced hardware and software costs versus marginally increased support complexity have been difficult to prove because enterprise mobility and BYOD programs are complicated by privacy, security, and budget challenges.

CIOs must balance the promises of reduced IT costs and increased employee productivity with the realities of running a BYOD program. Although employee productivity may increase, as some surveys have shown, BYOD needs new policies and procedures and it's likely to increase overall costs due to hidden budgetary items such as managing employee BYOD expenses, policies, and device management.

The lives of today's workers are not always divided into neat and separate office and home compartments. Many work at home, sometimes on weekends, and often for longer hours, making them more productive than when in the traditional, office-based nine-to-five role. Nowhere is the blur between home and office more evident than in the social and mobile space, where employees mix work and play in their Twitter streams and use the same phone and laptop for Facebook, Netflix and accessing the corporate CRM system.

Over the last decade, employees have begun bringing better personal IT equipment into the office than they have at work, and want to use it for both personal and work activities. Carrying two phones is a hassle, and some might prefer a tablet or an Apple MacBook over their corporate laptop. This powerful and irreversible employee productivity trend is called "the consumerization of IT" and savvy companies are responding with new enterprise mobility programs, of which bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes may be a part.

Today's CIO has a lot to do to make BYOD work, starting with a well-designed and communicated policy covering employee privacy rights and a company's right to monitor, access, review, and disclose company data. The CIO must balance the convenience of BYOD and the improved employee productivity with the realities of employee privacy, corporate security, and the use of mobile device management (MDM) software. There are BYOD minefields that must be negotiated by working closely with HR, finance, legal, and business units, as well as dealing with a wide range of impatient and tech-savvy employees who will say (or perhaps shout) "Why doesn't IT get it? How hard can it be? I just want to do my work."

In this slideshow, Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies, takes a closer look at BYOD and offers advice to help CIOs maximize workplace productivity while maintaining corporate security.


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