by Shahin Pirooz
If you’re in enterprise IT, then you’re probably painfully aware that more employees are using their own mobile devices – such as iPads and Android-based smartphones and tablets – to work from any place at any time, whether you want them to or not.
While this bring your own device (BYOD) concept provides obvious benefits for both employees and the company, it is causing a paradigm shift for the IT department. In this scenario, IT can no longer easily control when mobile devices are updated or what software resides on them, like they did when only a particular device was supported. Instead, they need to figure out how to be ‘endpoint agnostic’ in order to enhance overall worker productivity and employee satisfaction.
To ensure your company can effectively handle all the new devices employees are using for work, you need to first develop a mobility policy. Mobile device management (MDM) should essentially be an extension of your general IT or acceptable use policy and applied to any device that is used to access the network.
Because technology – and how employees use it – is evolving so quickly, your mobility policy should be strict enough to protect vital corporate data, but flexible enough to address the proliferation of new devices and applications coming to market, as well as mobile security concerns. Here are some basic steps to take when developing a mobility policy to meet your organization’s needs:
whether the company will provide all devices, or if you will allow employees to
use their own smartphones, tablets and/or service plans. a. If
the company decides to provide all devices and service plans, the rules of
usage can be as strict as you want – including a limit on roaming, personal
calls and data use, and wiping data and collecting the equipment once an
employee leaves the company.
b. If employees are allowed to bring their own devices, but the company pays for the service plan, your policy must consider whether or not to limit usage, how to handle the apps that are downloaded and the business implications of an employee leaving, but taking the phone number with them.
c. In the case that employees use their own devices and service plans, it’s difficult for an enterprise to dictate what data or services they purchase. Enterprises can choose to provide a stipend or allow the employee to expense all, or a portion of the service costs. If the employee leaves, you will need to figure out how to remove the corporate data on the device, most likely through a “selective wipe” process.
which groups within your company are allowed to use mobile devices, and if you
need to differentiate policies based on their job functions. For example, a
salesperson may require his or her own device and service plan because the
wireless provider selected for corporate-wide use does not have sufficient
coverage in the geographic territory where he or she works. But an employee at
your headquarters location may be required to use the service plan and device
offered by the company. You also may have to develop different policies to
govern access to services for various stakeholders and constituent groups based
on their job functions.
federal or state regulations about securing corporate data. For example,
Massachusetts and Nevada now require any company that has data from customers
located in those states to encrypt the mobile device; what’s more, many other
states are currently considering similar protections.
with your human resources and legal teams about any internal compliance
concerns, government mandates or industry regulations (such as ones applicable
to public companies or the medical industry) that your company’s mobility
policy must address.
- Research other companies’ mobility policies, best practices and solutions. In August, the White House introduced a toolkit for managing a BYOD program that offers some sound advice. You may also want to consider consulting industry associations or other professionals in your line of business to see how they deal with mobile device management. Most importantly, you will want to stay current with how to manage the ever-changing types of mobile devices on the market, and find a solution that is able to evolve to meet your needs.