To accompany the rise of BYOD, a flurry of content has been created to address the challenges with which it presents enterprises. Security, cloud hosting, mobile app development, and other technologically complex issues are discussed at great length and in great detail.
And while these topics are vitally important in the realm of enterprise mobility, they are not the only considerations a company must take into account when moving forward with a BYOD policy.
One of the most basic issues that must be addressed begins at the level of the end-user device itself.
Before options for security or analytics can even be considered, the first practical, concrete questions that must be answered are those pertaining to the actual mobile devices to be used. Which types of devices should be allowed to access the network? What criteria should be used to choose? How will employees actually use these devices on a day-to-day basis? What sort of wear and tear will they need to be able to withstand? How will repairs and replacements be handled?
4 Common BYOD Issues
The following 4 considerations are the sort of practical questions that are not often addressed in the reams of content surrounding enterprise mobility, but which are nonetheless crucial to the success of any BYOD initiative over the long-term.
1. Choosing device vendors: Most mobile device vendors make their devices with consumer use in mind, not enterprise use. Because of this, some of their products may not mesh well with business technology planning and integration needs. When deciding which end user devices to allow as a part of your BYOD program, it’s a good idea to choose those whose vendors serve the enterprise market in addition to the consumer market, in order to ensure that they understand and cater to the requirements of enterprise mobility.
2. Handling device maintenance: When mobile devices with access to your company’s sensitive information are in need of repair, you don’t want just anyone working on them. It’s important to have a list of proven repair service providers you can trust to do the job right, and have employees bring their devices to those providers only for maintenance.
3. Ensuring that devices suit their environment: What exactly does enterprise mobility mean in the context of your business? Will mobile devices be exposed to extreme temperatures? Will they be in danger of being dropped, knocked to the ground, or crushed by equipment? A standard office environment is safe enough for consumer-grade devices, but in certain environments, it may be smarter to issue employees more rugged devices that can put up with abuse.
4. Creating a policy regarding personal use: Apart from the more commonly discussed security risks of mixing personal and professional use of mobile devices, there are other issues that don’t come up as often. Should employees be allowed to upgrade their devices themselves, for example? Should their children be allowed to play with them? Should adult family members have access? A detailed policy must be in place to ensure that all employees understand what is and is not allowed in their daily use of these devices.
When a business first implements an enterprise mobility initiative, there are numerous questions to be considered. But in the whirl of security decisions, app development, and deployment questions, don’t forget to include the most basic item of all in your strategizing: the mobile device itself.
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