Mobile devices have become indispensable in organizations. Employees are using smartphones, tablets, and laptops in the offices as well as when they are traveling. The companies too are embracing these hand-held devices to boost productivity. Again, the offices are no longer limited to any physical boundaries, employees may be working from home or remotely at some location which can be on the opposite side of the globe. But, in parallel, the top management has to make strategic decisions about the best way to manage these mobile devices. They are faced with this question that is it better to let employees use their own smartphones and tablets i.e. BYOD or the company-owned devices?
Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD), as the name implies, enables employees to use their personal devices for work purpose i.e. to access corporate data, content, messages, emails and other resources. Many employees are in love with their own smartphones and tablets and would like to use the same in the offices as well, so many companies allow it but then these devices need to be included in the company’s network. BYOD may help companies in saving hardware costs, employee satisfaction, and productivity up to certain extent but they face concern over security, the risk of company data and compatibility issues.
Data security: Since employees can access and even downloads corporate data on their own devices, which they use even for personal purpose, there is a risk of data leakage, loss or theft.
Storage of Personal and Business Data: In the case of bringing your own device policy, employees are using the same device to access both personal and corporate data, hence, keeping them separate and secure is an apparent issue.
Managing Devices Is Tough: By including BYOD devices in the corporate network, it becomes difficult for the IT department to manage devices. Businesses can’t pose the same restrictions on personal devices, as applied on company-owned devices.
On other hands, corporate mobile device policy, organizations are in better position in various matters like, a company can decide which devices, services, and apps they will support, apply restrictions on using these services and apps that could jeopardize the data and devices. It also enables the devices to be deployed in a locked-down mode, either allowing only one application to be run on the device or specific set of apps. Hence, it improves security, efficiency, processes, and even user experiences.
Control and security: companies can monitor, manage and secure their company-owned mobile devices.
Data deletion: companies can wipe/delete data and other sensitive information if and when necessary.
With company-owned devices, organizations can also install Mobile Device Management solution (MDM), and enroll the devices in MDM systems more easily.
Corporate mobile device policy offers organizations the control and authority over all mobile devices used by the employees which result in lower security concerns than bring your own device policy. Theft, maintenance, updates, and replacements are also more streamlined, standardized and easier to execute. However, employees may have less freedom with their devices. But, it is important to understand that, in this approach, businesses will have to be proactive, and adopt an innovative approach to keep pace with technology which requires futuristic thinking and vigilance.
To conclude, companies need to consider the pros and cons of BYOD and company-owned/managed device strategies and then can choose the one best suited to its needs and requirements.
Nema Buch is a Research & Marketing professional, also writes for MobiLock Pro on Enterprise Mobility trends, SaaS, and different Industry Verticals.