Are you ready for the BYOD trend?

Are you ready for the BYOD trend?

The simple fact is that more and more employees are using their own mobile devices to carry out work-related tasks, with a recent survey indicating that staff use an average of 3.5 devices every day in their working life and more than half of firms support employee-owned mobile devices.

Of course there are huge benefits to allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes. Companies that do so are unlikely to bear the costs of maintaining personal equipment, and workers can be much more productive if they are free to use the technology they are used to using at home.

Workers are making professional calls on their mobiles, sending text messages to colleagues about work matters, and using tablets to check emails as well as accessing sensitive data away from the office. While some firms have implemented bring your own device (BYOD) policies, many have not, with 46 per cent transferring files between work and personal computers when working from home.
 
The Data Protection Act imposes obligations on all organisations to keep personal data safe and secure, which challenges previous IT solutions put in place by many firms, as they can no longer ensure all devices are completely secure.

Traditional perimeter security is no longer able to handle the influx of mobile devices and the cloud technologies needed to support multiple device access. New security models focused on distributed data, applications and users will begin to take its place and firms must prepare to make the use of mobile devices safe and secure.

An automated approach is the best course of action when it comes to protecting data, according to Graeme Batsman, director of Datadefender.co.uk, who said that this method can allow part data encryption, which means that personal data can be left alone, while business information is placed in an encrypted folder on a mobile device.

"Automated methods and data leak prevention software are really the way forward. If companies have no policy or no enforcement, they are asking for trouble," he added.

Mobile device management technology, which can offer configuration management, troubleshooting and support, inventory, remote control and reporting capabilities, can reduce risk by detecting and remotely wiping data, and by enforcing password and encryption policies.

Failing to implement measures that allow separation of personal and company information could lead to employees becoming disgruntled, as they are unlikely to accept their company wiping all of their personal information or being able to access it all, particularly if it can be done remotely.

Complete separation of personal and enterprise data is possible, which ensures devices remain personal and protects data. Workers can access all of their corporate data through an application on their smartphone desktop, which prevents sensitive company information leaking to the personal area of the device. One major benefit is the ability to completely wipe all corporate data while leaving personal information completely intact.

Ultimately, chief information officers need to be sure that their employees will be able to use their personal devices responsibly when it comes to protecting sensitive information. According to Clive Taylor, director of Sesai Consulting Limited, CIOs can ask themselves a range of questions before allowing a member of staff to use their own device for work purposes

"How much can the individual be trusted to manage the security of their own device? Will the device be encrypted to a sufficient standard? Will passwords be complex enough and changed regularly? Do they even have the skills to set up the device correctly in the first place? Will the company have to start offering support on these devices? Would this transfer risk back to the company? " he explained.

Here at Arrow we provide two types of mobile device management solutions that will provide your business with the tools to prepare for a BYOD scheme, or manage your fleet of corporate owned smartphones or tablets. 

Our solutions can be deployed either on-premise or as a cloud based service, and can cater to small or large device deployments. Using them you can apply corporate policies, push documents and applications, manage users or groups of devices and secure sensitive data on smartphones and tablets.