Whether companies like it or not, their employees are using mobile devices in the workplace. And they are using them not only to check personal email, play games and shop, but if allowed by the company, to access corporate email and, in some cases, productivity apps.
It’s a foregone conclusion that this trend—dubbed BYOD (for Bring Your Own Device)—isn’t going away. In fact, virtually all recent surveys and market research signify an upward trend. This trend is also referred to as the Consumerization of IT.
Companies are beginning to have no choice but to allow their employees to use smartphones and tablets for work purposes. The best way to do that is by using web-based business applications with mobile capabilities. That’s getting easier and easier, as more and more web-based business software companies create specific versions for iOS, Android and sometimes, BlackBerry.
The trend may causes a multitude of issues for comanies including security and determing which devices to provide support for. On the security front, that means keeping track of what devices are accessing corporate resources. That can mean implementing some type of Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Access Management (MAM) solution.
Making BYOD work in an environment where employees use web-based software also means setting up numerous corporate policies. At a minimum, these should include having users agree to install, or have the IT department install, whatever security, monitoring or tracking software the organization requires. Users also should be required to password-protect the devices and register them with the IT department. All devices should support 802.1x authentication.
Done right, the BYOD movement can mean greater productivity for companies. Employees can be productive while in transit or at remote locations. They can collaborate with team members in real time. They can submit expense reports and scan restaurant receipts. The possibilities are endless. Instead of fighting the movement, it makes sense to join it.