Look around any Australian workplace and see a diversity of mobile devices and apps that empower people to work where they want, when they want and with whom they want.
Many people seek out organisations that allow them to ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) because they don’t want to use obsolete or unfamiliar equipment. Organisations may also benefit from lower upfront device costs, especially if technological change outpaces their ability to buy replacements.
Deloitte found Australian workers wedded to their personal mobile devices just behind the biggest BYOD nations in Scandinavia; two-thirds of Australians use them at work, a quarter regularly (fewer than one in 15 got an employer device). Email and making calls were the most popular work activities for half of those surveyed, Deloitte said.
Why people love to use their own devices at work
Workers and their employers embraced BYOD over the past decade for reasons that ranged from convenience to improved collaboration and innovation. Many workplaces have evolved from ‘accidental’ BYOD beginnings when employees bypassed official buying channels to use the devices they loved.
Why your staff and managers prefer a BYOD workplace:
- Employees use device(s) with which they’re most comfortable
- Only one device for personal and work use
- Worker morale, productivity and performance lifts
- Lift in innovation and collaboration
- Simplified and speedier technology selection
- Potential up-front savings (weighed against management complexity)
- The ICT function focuses on value-adding rather than approving devices.
But BYOD may blur ownership lines and complicate responsibilities. For instance, what rights does the firm have to manage data and apps stored on the handset that the employee owns and pays for? And how would an employee, who uses the work device they bought for personal activities such as internet banking or email, separate private information so their employer can’t access it?
Providing the best BYOD+mobility experience for users
So to develop a conscious strategy that delivers the best of BYOD and mobility (BYOD+mobility), organisations must conform their technological solutions within cultural, legal, ethical and moral frameworks. Issues and challenges that an organisation must address to succeed include:
- Manage devices & cybersecurity – Knowing what employee and guest devices are on the corporate network and what they access.
- Comply with intellectual property licences – Ensuring apps are licenced and comply with local law.
- Control bandwidth and wireless access – Granting correct access for a good user experience.
- Provide file and print – Boost productivity and cut support calls with hassle-free access to corporate knowledge sharing.
- Comply with notifiable data breach and privacy laws – Need to know when data is lost, stolen or mislaid.
The senior leadership team or business owner must also be mindful of potential ‘horror scenarios’ that may arise from errant or malicious use of an employee’s personal device. These being:
Theft or loss —Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association says Australians lose (or have stolen) more than 100,000 mobile phones a year—a device every six minutes—while just a third are returned. (A recovered device should be denied corporate access because it may be compromised.)
Job hops – A million Australians a year change employers with their average half-life about 18 months (among emerging employees the frequency is greater). So be vigilant that someone doesn’t take your intellectual property to your competition.
Malicious or disgruntled workers – Current employees with a grievance may present a greater risk to the organisation’s assets and networks.
Finding a way through the complex BYOD+mobility maze
Any solution must start with a thorough understanding of the environment and culture of the organisation, and what qualifies as a successful implementation. It may be valuable for organisations that have longstanding BYOD practices to revisit their strategy and gauge success and staff attitudes, especially before a technology shift, to ensure full benefits are received and emerging risks are mitigated.
OBT recommends our clients consider these seven steps to get the most from their BYOD+mobility strategies:
- Know why you want a BYOD/mobility solution – Crystallise the business cases such as offering wi-fi ‘guest’ access, providing corporate assets to field staff, or facilitating an employee’s return to work.
- Write policies that support the organisation – Leaders and employees collaborate on areas like data handling, privacy and acceptable use to ensure they are legally compliant and reflect shared culture, values and strategic direction.
- Socialise processes to protect the organisation and stakeholders – Document how the firm will respond to events such as data breaches or malicious use of business assets.
- Gain informed consent from employees and stakeholders – Manage change empathetically to ensure that mobile device owners know their rights and obligations.
- Formalise legal acceptance of policies and processes – Ensure workers sign up to new policies and procedures, and issue amended contracts.
- Select technology that supports success – Choose the solution and partner that best empower workers and secure the organisation.
- Monitor success against expected gains to measure RoI – Revisit reasons for the current solution, how it tracks against expectations, and worker acceptance.
Securing the corporate network, its data, and customer privacy rights often leads to an enterprise mobility and device management (EMM/MDM) solution. An organisation may also install apps or services such as a virtual private network (VPN) or virtual device to separate the two lives of a BYOD device. And for logging on and authentication, they may use two-factor authentication (2fa), single sign-on (SSO) or password manager to improve security and the user experience.
Some firms prefer to use a ‘wrapper’ on their employees’ mobile devices, which segments data and apps between work and personal use. It could be as simple as accessing information through a web browser or it may create a separate, secure area or ‘sandbox’ on the device itself that can’t be accessed by unauthorised apps. A wrapper enables the business to permanently erase itself from the device without affecting the device owner’s personal apps and data such as login codes and emails.
OBT also provides its Secure 365™ service that delivers every Microsoft capability and service through a portal and with a wrapper for devices. This has the benefit of delivering the latest productivity-enhancing applications to staff while retaining ultimate control over who access corporate data and apps.
A well crafted BYOD+mobility strategy that makes it easy and secure to access business information anywhere will boost productivity and innovation.
Do you want to provide a more engaging work space for your staff in which they are free to be productive and innovative wherever they are but not sure how to move forward? Chat to OBT’s experts for guidance on how to kick your BYOD+mobility ambitions into high gear.