Covid-19 has led to profound changes in work practices around the globe. While hybrid work has become the new norm, businesses are becoming increasingly flexible with policies regarding the utilization of IT equipment. Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture has been gaining popularity as it enhances accessibility and productivity of employees. Similarly, BYOD policies not only boost employees’ morale, but develop a greater trust amongst them since employees personal data is protected along with work-related data. It has been reported that US-based BYOD users tend to save 81 minutes per week, indicating enhanced worker efficiency.
BYOD is a relatively new technological trend that is especially popular among IT-intensive firms. When governed by security-conscious BYOD policies, employees can bring an array of devices, but these devices are consistently monitored through Mobile Device Management. Effective BYOD Mobile Device Management is a vital measure to ensure that a business’s data remains safe from potential security breaches.
What is BYOD and how does it work?
BYOD refers to a practice adopted by businesses that allows employees to use their personal devices, such as mobile phones and laptops at work. This saves businesses time and money, and it not only reduces high procurement costs, but also motivates employees to perform better. BYOD boosts employee motivation in the following ways:
- No need to manage both work and personal devices simultaneously
- Employees benefit by using latest technology funded by business
- Employees have the freedom to choose preferred devices and systems, enhancing comfort
Despite the advantages BYOD offers employees, it also puts business’s sensitive data at risk because private devices are not secure. Therefore, Mobile Device Management (MDM) software is commonly used as an IT asset management practice that provides end-point security by monitoring and managing employee-owned devices. MDM facilitates the effective implementation of BYOD policies while improving organizational functionality. It helps manage the entire lifecycle of a device through a cloud-based operating system, maximizing security, and optimizing each device’s lifespan in the process. BYOD speeds up the IT onboarding process for employees as well, since time spent acclimating to new operating systems is eliminated.
What are some challenges associated with BYOD?
Despite the clear benefits of BYOD for employees and the potential efficiency gains for businesses, it also has significant challenges that can alter the productivity of employees and even weaken the effectiveness of business operations:
- Costly security management: Defending against the threat of cyber attacks requires advanced, security-driven solutions installed in employees’ devices. The risk that employee-owned devices are infected with malicious software is relatively high, considering they likely lack advanced security systems and may be connected to unsafe networks outside the business. Therefore, it is best to wait to implement BYOD until you have essential IT tools to safeguard your organization. A remedial solution may require subscriptions that can raise your business’s IT costs, but despite the cost, it is important that the solution you choose is easy to adopt and aligns with all of your BYOD policies in practice.
- Strict BYOD regulations: Ensuring that employees comply with BYOD policies can be a challenge. Employees might interpret the installation of security management solutions into their personal devices as a breach of privacy because these solutions — such as MDM — track user activity. IT training for employees during onboarding can help counteract this perception and make policy implementation more effective, but it does require time and effort. Similarly, it is important that the solution you are using to facilitate BYOD has cross-device management features, to ensure that the software runs smoothly across multiple devices. Additionally, employees may find it somewhat more difficult to download their preferred apps if you restrict them to use their devices via MDM. This can add frustration to the employee experience and presents another obstacle to policy adoption.
- Outdated devices: Non-corporate devices used at work pose a threat to your business’s confidential information when they fail to support the latest security management software. When devices are old, they run operating systems that are more prone to online attacks and are incompatible with the updates needed for advanced software. In such scenarios, deploying a security management system can amplify your costs and still not provide the desired results because the device will not be able to support it.
What are some common best practices for BYOD Mobile Device Management?
1. Device security
MDM is a common tool used to ensure that employee-owned devices function in accordance with BYOD policies. It automates, secures, and manages the devices that run on corporate networks while protecting them from potential attacks online. Since MDM allows the IT team to extract important information about devices, it enables efficient device security analysis. Access to each users’ installed system helps the IT team quickly identify if the system is compatible with advanced security measures that are needed by your business for data protection.
ITAM facilitates BYOD Mobile Device Management by restricting user access to certain apps and tracking user activity, thereby ensuring that employees comply with company policies. Advanced privacy settings help separate personal and work data, coupled with data encryption for an additional layer of security, and this separation can help build trust amongst employees with regard to their personal data. Furthermore, an ITAM’s MDM features allow data to be easily managed from remote locations — if an employee loses a device, work-related data can be wiped off the device from the cloud, without danger of compromising confidential information.
2. Regulatory compliance
Operating in compliance with IT regulations enhances your business’s productivity and efficiency. Your IT team can manage and control mobile operating systems through Unified End-Point Management (UME). UME is useful in overcoming the following challenges that you may encounter while managing mobile devices:
- Employees can sometimes make efforts to circumvent corporate networks for personalized use. UME prevents this by identifying any such attempts and restricting corporate resources to each employee. Considering that employees may use a wide variety of networks outside work, UME also secures access from these non-standard end-points. ITAM software helps teams execute UEM by streamlining device management and providing details of device hardware and its lifecycle, as well as facilitating device onboarding.
- Some employees may “jailbreak” their device to use an array of websites which can be malicious for corporate data as it opens the door for cyber attacks. By using the cloud, you can remotely wipe important corporate data to prevent leakage of sensitive information and enhance data protection.
BYOD policies can help improve employee motivation and reduce your business costs, but MDM maintains a check over user activity, while ensuring that employees have the option of self-service, such as setting their own passwords.
3. Equipment maintenance
Software that your business provides to the employees can be tracked and accounted for in IT asset management solutions. MDM-generated asset reports allow for very effective IT asset management processes for employee-owned devices. These reports generate critical information related to device management, maintenance, quantity, and use. Also, MDM streamlines asset inventory management by simply scanning devices for detailed asset information and enabling remote tracking. This helps you easily extract information regarding each asset’s condition, service scheduled, and maintenance needed to ensure that employee devices are always up to date
Moreover, supporting hybrid work practices that are common in the post-pandemic era, MDM makes the process of equipment maintenance smooth while recording every device’s data to ensure that it matches corporate standards. Further, MDM allows your IT team to analyze beforehand what devices will be scheduled for maintenance, and estimate the service time so that alternative devices may be conveniently arranged for employees in a timely manner.
4. Software renewal and license management
When ITAM and MDM work hand in hand, asset management is streamlined, risks are mitigated and your business efficiency is enhanced. Cloud-based asset management comes with a complete package that helps minimize employees’ dependency on the IT team by centralizing access to software through the cloud. This, in turn, simplifies BYOD Mobile Device Management because the employees never need to fear losing corporate data if their devices are lost or crash.
A modern ITAM solution will also automatically highlight when a license is expiring so that it can be renewed from the backend. Employees do not need to keep track of their software licenses or contact the IT team individually because ITAM and MDM systems can automatically perform these tasks for them. Additionally, software made available to various users can be categorized based on employees’ departments. And further, when a software update is available, it can be deployed across all the devices requiring the update, which saves time across the organization. IT staff can also pre-determine which updates must be carried out across devices, allowing them to be scheduled well in advance.
5. Data removal
When employees leave the business, removing corporate data from their personal devices is one of the major priorities of the IT team. MDM expedites this process by erasing selected data and partitioning corporate and personal data. User accounts and passwords provided by your IT team can be deleted along with business applications. In this way, access to the corporate data that is available on employees’ devices via the cloud software can be permanently deleted through MDM for better security. In addition, MDM role access automatically restricts availability of information, based on the user’s role, making privacy settings easy to update. Most MDM solutions offer several layers of security, blocking access to users with inaccurate credentials.
Increased business productivity through BYOD Mobile Device Management
Well-managed BYOD policies can yield many benefits for your business, including increased employee motivation and reduced procurement costs. In support of good BYOD practices, critical ITAM processes are streamlined through MDM software, minimizing exposure to harmful data and other security threats. Therefore, when deploying BYOD in your organizations, leveraging the latest automation technology to efficiently manage all user devices is the key to both maintaining smooth operations and protecting valuable information.