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Column: Tips to make Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a success

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) tips and advice

November 4, 2013

How can internal communications help to successfully develop and communicate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy – and what are the positives and pitfalls?

BYOD refers to the recent trend for employees to use their own mobile phones, laptops and tablets at work, accessing company resources such as email, servers and databases from their own devices.

But implementing a BYOD policy can be a tricky business and good comms is essential throughout.

Independent IT consultant Lee Blackwell believes it is a good idea overall.

Here are his top tips for success:

1. Preparation is key.

Introducing a BYOD policy is frontloaded. It brings many bene?ts, including reducing hardware costs and IT support needs, but you can’t charge at it.

In some industries, users will expect the company to provide everything they need to carry out their jobs, so BYOD may not be for them.

More tech-savvy users are likely to be more receptive to BYOD. Do your research, and decide if BYOD is for you.

2. Communicate the policy effectively.

The Comms and IT teams should work closely together to ?rst engage with key business stakeholders and gain buy-in and support, before announcing the policy with the same care with which any other big rollout would be announced.

Provide a Q&A sheet and an easily accessible online resource that remains available when the policy is live, as well as regular opportunities to ask questions of IT and give feedback at
drop-ins, lunch and learn sessions or scheduled presentations.

3. Tailor your policy to your needs.

No two BYOD policies are the same. Think about your licensing and software needs and what you might ‘bake’ into your policy; e.g., you could specify that employees must bring Windows.

If you decide to provide software, this is a company asset and should be removed from the employee’s device if they leave.

Also be clear that if a device breaks or is lost, it is the employee’s responsibility to replace it as quickly as possible. Remember – your policy is part of your communication.

4. De?ne information ownership.

Companies using BYOD often employ knowledge workers, and information they handle is a company asset.

Therefore the policy must communicate exceedingly clearly that the company owns the data, retains ownership of the data, and retains the ability to control its data.

5. Be security savvy.

Software asset management, and the installation of an agent such as Snow or Altiris on the employee’s device, must be non-negotiable.

Then the company can get reports of what is installed on the device, and can remotely wipe data when an employee moves on.

6. Think about the logistics.

Put everything you might need in place to avoid common pitfalls. For example, you will still need a bank of standard default devices for employees to use temporarily if their own device breaks.

Also, help avoid software compatibility issues by choosing web browser based software.

7. Measure your success.

Following implementation, look at whether the amount of help desk requests has reduced, along with investment in mobile devices for employees.

A user satisfaction survey is helpful to assess how people are engaging.

BOYD: the pros and cons

PROS

Employers
* Reduces hardware costs
* Simplifies IT choice

Employees
* Freedom of choice

CONS

Employers
* Data control, leakage, retention.

Employees
* No IT team safety net
* Funding/ user responsibility
* Lack of IT knowledge