A lot has been written about the phenomenon known as “Bring your own Device” (BYOD), much of it centered on the risks to corporate resources from employees who use personal-liable smartphones for work. We read stories about employees ignoring policies and circumventing security features, or data loss from the use of unsecured devices. And many thousands of words have been written about mobile device liability, device management, mobile security tools, reimbursement strategies, deployment options, and so on. But beyond the technology and security aspects of BYOD, IT has a strategically important role to play both in supporting employee productivity and controlling costs for the organization.
So when considering supporting personal smartphones in a BYOD model, remember that making the user responsible for paying the bill doesn’t really solve the problem of the high cost of getting connected. Connectivity is essential for productivity, and cloud-based apps are increasingly bandwidth intensive. With these come the potential for very significant “bill shock”. Even if your IT department doesn’t directly support the cost of connectivity-even if the cost of a data plan or Wi-Fi day passes are buried in department budgets or expense reports-the increased use of personal-liable devices opens up your organization to the risk of very high connectivity expenses. So your policy must include provisions for mobile cost control.
What often gets lost in all the attention on BYOD policies and technologies that manage mobile devices is how your relationship with employees can also help you achieve your policy enforcement goals.
Our research has shown that most employees want to behave responsibly and act in the best interests of the organization. They don’t really want to put corporate assets at risk or share confidential information. But they also genuinely want to be productive, even when they’re not at their desks, and they’re willing to go to great lengths to do so. Recent iPass Mobile Workforce Reports have found that today’s employees are resourceful and willing to do whatever it takes to be connected-30% even reporting that they have driven around looking for a wireless hotspot in order to get connected. But most are willing to follow your rules-to the extent that they understand them.
The issue is: how well do your employees understand your mobile device policies? Simply developing policies and rules for the use of personal-liable smartphones and tablets isn’t enough. You’re responsible to ensure that employees understand them and know how to do the right thing. Publishing your policy on your intranet and in your new employee handbook is necessary but far from sufficient.
What’s needed is education. Read the full iPass Insight Brief: Partnering With Mobile Workers to learn how IT can partner with mobile workers to support personal-liable smartphones and what to cover in your mobile worker training program.
By partnering with employees and supporting their ability to be productive anywhere, anytime, you’re building shared responsibility for protecting your organizations interests. And IT can be the hero in a positive relationship that will help achieve your security and cost-control goals.