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Q&A: BYOD can increase worker satisfaction

A recent CompTIA study claimed there is a “clear move” away from the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative. According to the study, the reason for the decline isn’t a lack of consumer interest, but instead a lack of clear, satisfactory (if any) BYOD policies.

However, nearly half of employees use their personal mobile devices for work, with 37 per cent of them spending more than 10 hours completing work-related tasks on mobile outside of the office.

Yet 58 per cent of companies don’t allow BYOD. I have had a chance to talk to Alan Murray, senior vice-president of Products for Apperian about BYOD, what it brings and what companies are missing for not implementing any policies.

What are the benefits of the BYOD?

AM: Mobility enables companies to transform the way they do business by providing access to mobile apps and data that can promote revenue opportunities, save costs and time and connect with customers in new ways. BYOD allows employees to choose the technology that suites them best and allows them to get their jobs done while increasing productivity. Employees don’t have to carry two separate devices for personal and work usage, and are more likely to have an enjoyable experience, since they’re already familiar with that device.

What makes an “easy-to-understand BYOD policy”?

AM: An “easy-to-understand” BYOD policy, which is critical for a successful BYOD program, involves educating employees on the basics of mobile app security, rather than delving into highly technical material. Make sure your employees know that you’re interested in optimizing their work environment and experience – not tapping into their personal data. The most successful policies build trust from the beginning and welcome open and honest dialogue regarding intentions, expectations and ownership. It’s also important to create an environment that doesn’t add complicated ‘blockers’ to gaining access to business information via their mobile devices.

In today’s world of security breaches and huge expenses it brings, how safe is it for people to use personal devices for work? Buying dedicated work devices might be more expensive, but compared to the risk of a breach, is it not cheaper in the long run?

AM: Interestingly, Gartner predicts that 75 per cent of mobile security breaches are the result of mobile application misconfigurations, rather than the outcome of deeply technical attacks on mobile devices. Corporate-issued devices have the same security concerns as BYOD devices. While there are technologies that help protect devices if they are lost or stolen, these solutions do little to protect from software-level attacks. Instead of focusing on locking devices, companies should look to protect the individual apps and data, thereby negating the risk of the device. Mobile App Management (MAM) minimizes the risk of a data breach, allowing IT to secure sensitive enterprise data at the app-level without compromising employees’ personal information.

Can the use of personal devices for work increase productivity and how?

AM: Modern employees work in a fluid nature and tend to move back and forth between personal and work activities throughout the day, evenings and weekends. Having one device that allows them to continue working in this way provides the flexibility and productivity employees expect from employers. Additionally, worker satisfaction has also been seen to be higher with flexible work environments.

Is the future of business in BYOD?

AM: Nearly half of employees use their personal mobile devices for work. BYOD goes far beyond employees accessing corporate email on their smartphones and has the potential to transform the way work gets done. Another important aspect is that the future of workers is changing. More and more organizations are relying on workers who are not full-time employees. Businesses are not going to provide corporate-issued devices to these workers, but still need to ensure that business apps and data can be accessed and protected, making BYOD – when accompanied by mobile application management – ideal. Companies that embrace BYOD can not only enable their extended workforce, but also cuts costs, increase employee satisfaction and productivity, and boost revenue.

What advice can you give to business owners thinking about implementing a BYOD strategy?

AM: It’s critical to have a set of clearly defined goals for any enterprise mobility program. Once defining their program’s goals, business owners implementing a BYOD strategy need to keep several considerations in mind. Separating personal and enterprise data, clearly defining ownership of the device, providing an open forum for employee communication and putting safeguards in place to protect sensitive data are essential aspects of a successful BYOD strategy.