Somehow, BYOD is still stumping IT pros

Recent findings from Dell and Dimensional Research show that while IT has made serious headway with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plans, some basic functionality and security issues are keeping it from becoming a resource users are comfortable with. 

A majority of respondents to the Context Aware Security study saw benefits of BYOD. Sixty-one percent said that BYOD increased employee productivity. But even more (72%) said that security challenges prevent greater BYOD adoption.

And security would seem to be a huge concern for these companies. In fact, 86% said they prioritize corporate security over employee convenience.

Judging from the survey results, however, employees are doing whatever they can to take advantage of mobile work. In fact employees said they access corporate assets on mobile devices:

  • More than 20 times a day (23% of respondents)
  • Between 10 and 20 times a day (30%), and
  • One to 10 times a day (30%).

Only 5% said they never access corporate assets from mobile devices.

Striking a balance

These figures all boil down to the same essential problem that has been at the heart of BYOD debates since the very beginning: It could very well be a productivity booster, but more than likely, it’ll also cause security issues.

And even if those security methods are put in place, there’s no guarantee users will be accepting of them. Respondents said that security measures their company put in place affect their productivity:

  • always (11%)
  • frequently (23%), and
  • occasionally (38%).

For BYOD programs to be successful – from both a security and efficiency standpoint – a balance must be struck.

Here are seven crucial criteria for making sure that balance is struck:

  1. Ownership. In order to get buy-in from users for security, you need to establish beyond any confusion who has ownership over the device. This may sound basic, but defining which party is the owner is the basis of all future decisions.
  2. Entitlement. Recently, using personal devices to access company information has drifted closer to a right than a privilege in many users’ minds. Be sure to establish the ground rule that any access to BYOD is determined by IT, not the user … and is subject to being revoked if need be.
  3. Opt-in/opt-out. It’s important employees know they have a choice with BYOD. Make sure they’re aware of how to opt-in or opt-out of BYOD policies – and ask them to renew their commitment occasionally with signatures.
  4. Select the right MDM program. Mobile device management, or MDM, went from being a novelty to a necessity rather quickly. Make sure that whichever program you decide on balances security with productivity: If the program is too cumbersome or hard to use, users will ignore it, leaving you right back where you started with them breaking policies.

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