In many workplaces there’s a device war afoot. IT and OPS teams are battling with their colleagues over their use and abuse of their networks thanks to BYOD. And it’s a fight that’s gaining momentum. Gartner predicts that by 2017 over 50% of businesses will be BYOD-ready.

BYOD makes a whole lot of sense. There’s less to fork out for device-wise, the fees associated with running devices are reduced, and company morale can become tip-top – with workers using familiar tech to connect and communicate.

However, these devices are an unknown entity…

Who knows what kinds of dangers they are bringing into your safe and secure environment?

There is so much information available on how to handle this ‘here-to-stay’ trend. We all understand that BYOD is a game changer, so line up your weapons with our top 5 tips…

This is the definitive list on how to survive the BYOD battlefield.

1. Guide your workers to use, not abuse

Before you do anything, make certain that your IT and OPS policies have been updated to include BYOD. A clearly defined BYOD usage policy will guide workers in what they can and cannot do on your network. Put plainly, your framework must include rules of engagement and the conditions that need to be met (before the device connects) to avoid compliance issues. We suggest that you browse the web to see example policies and discuss the required parameters with colleagues and leaders from across the business. Consider for example: Which web browsers should employees use? Which security tools will provide the best protection for devices? What level of support is expected from IT teams? Find a good policy example here.

2. Aud-IT: 

Right device? Right worker? Prior to giving consent on whether workers can use their own devices, it’s essential that you conduct an operational mini-audit, to ensure that the BYOD route optimises productivity and efficiency. For more insight on operational audits, download our free How to Guide: Evaluating a Flexible Working Environment.

3. Mirror me

Unknown devices connecting to your network can cause serious problems. Consider hacking and viruses just for starters.

You need to completely control access to your network. A good idea is to create a mirror image of your actual network for guests and BYOD workers to use. That way your ‘real’ network is safe; you can create controls and limit access, without disrupting day-to-day work for regular users. If BYOD-ers need to access documents on the ‘real’ network then that’s fine too – from an approved device, and not their own, if that’s the rule you set.

Also, make sure that you beef up your connection so it can cope with new networked devices. An influx of BYOD has the potential to cause major downtime for your business.

3. Stop the ‘little helper’ helping itself to your data

Workers see their workplace apps as little helpers, increasing their productivity. But you must be aware that they can be a threat to data security and company confidentiality. Many apps have the ability to store personal information unencrypted on a device. In fact, some even fall foul of the Data Protection Act entirely – and when files are transmitted from a device, they may not be as safe as they are on your business machines

Think about providing your employees with workplace apps that you are convinced are safe and secure. Also look into tech solutions that allow you to control which apps use your network (see Watchguard or CA Technologies solutions as examples).

4. Use the 5 Ms: meet, manage, monitor, mediate and measure

Once you embark on a BYOD strategy you’ll need to embrace delivery wholeheartedly. This is your chance to make significant efficiency improvements for your business – and your chance to shine. Get it wrong and business will suffer. Get it right and you’ll see motivated teams and efficiency gains now and far into the future.

So, let’s get it right first time. How?

Introducing BYOD can be an uphill battle for IT and OPS teams – especially in the beginning. The real key is in meeting: making sure that all teams have the same desired outcomes and have completely bought into the changes.

Once underway, manage BYOD as an ongoing project, not just launch and go. And monitor closely. We suggest you invest in management software (cloud or otherwise), to mediate and measure the BYOD use on your network.

Smash BYOD first time around. You may only get one chance. Do it correctly and you’ll set your career on ‘lift-off’ mode.

We hope this gives you some great weaponry to fight the BYOD minefield and turn it into a business advantage.

*Money an employer pays to an employee to use their own mobile phone is taxable under current HMRC guidelines

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TOPICS: Flexible Working

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