BYOD for the CIO: Maximize Productivity While Maintaining Security

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The BYOD Policy Imperative

Perhaps the most important role the CIO plays in a BYOD program is gathering lessons learned from other organizations, then driving the work with HR and legal to craft a balanced, workable BYOD policy. The BYOD policy is the heart of the program as it specifies what is and isn't acceptable, what scenarios are covered, and what actions will be taken. Employees must agree to this policy as part of their terms and conditions or they cannot be part of an official BYOD scheme.

The BYOD policy needs to cover the important areas of employee privacy, corporate data security, and acceptable use – ensuring that it covers the various employee needs and risks. The CIO and team also need to ensure that lost devices, malware problems, security breaches, unacceptable use, and employee exits are covered by the policy. For this to be effective, IT must work with HR and Legal to ensure that there are documented and agreed-upon actions to back up the policy, otherwise the BYOD policy is ineffectual.

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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