Establishing BYOD/A Policies: A Necessity for Today's Businesses


By Jeff Fisher

The proliferation and availability of personal technology devices has reached unprecedented levels — a trend that is expected to continue in years to come as mobile and multidevice computing become more powerful, faster and less expensive.

A recent study of global information workers conducted by Forrester Research found that 52 percent of all information workers use three or more devices for work (such as a laptop, tablet and smart phone). And 60 percent of devices reported by information workers are used for both work and personal purposes.

Given easy accessibility to email and other applications from smartphones, tablets, netbooks, ultrabooks and laptops, today’s workforce is often mobile and connecting to the office with their personal devices. This, combined with the expectation that workers will be able to employ their own devices or applications for both organizational and personal use should prompt businesses to establish Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)/Bring Your Own App (BYOA) policies.

For a BYOD policy to align with and support business cultures today and tomorrow, it’s critical that organizations consider sustainability as a founding principle that accounts for a future where BYOD is not just a trend, but an industry standard. As the next generation of workers — those who were born nearly device-in-hand — begin making up the bulk of the workforce in business environments, the delineation between office and home IT will vanish. A global survey by Fortinet revealed that 74 percent of fully employed 20- to 29-year-olds worldwide consider BYOD to be common, and 55 percent say using their mobile device at work is a "right" rather than a "privilege."

When architecting a BYOD/A policy, plan small but think big. Divide your BYOD policy implementation plan into manageable segments that address each critical aspect of the organization’s activities individually, while considering the organization and its future as a whole. Learning from others is helpful, but organizations must also account for the uniqueness of their activities and the varied ways in which their workers use technology and applications when developing their customized BYOD policy. For example, what percentage of your organization's workers access technology either from home office situations or on the road? How often is regulated, confidential information accessed by employees from multiple devices?

Analyzing an infrastructure’s capacity and user environments before developing a BYOD plan will help you tailor your policy and give you the foresight to mitigate issues before they become significant problems. Gathering this data is crucial to creating an informed BYOD policy or embarking on a desktop transformation initiative, especially those that involve personal device management.

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