BYOD for the CIO: Maximize Productivity While Maintaining Security

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Three Kinds of BYOD Approach

As BYOD has evolved, we have seen that there is a sliding scale of BYOD technical solutions, ranging from low to high cost. Low budget is to have a hands-off approach – a bare-minimum policy – and to isolate all wireless BYOD devices so that they can only use one or two services (such as email) and nothing else.

A CIO could go for something more middling and use network devices to control and monitor access over the Wi-Fi at their facilities, and not allow any access to corporate information other than through this route. This is often extended outside the office by using VPNs on mobile devices and locking down application access to isolate personal applications from corporate. But this still opens a tunnel that malware could exploit.

For complex, changing, and regulated environments, a CIO is likely to go big-budget and invest in an MDM solution that will implement a detailed BYOD policy, providing a great employee UX matched by fine-grain IT controls.

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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