Not only has BYOD had a monetary impact on the businesses that have embraced it, but it has also begun to revolutionize the way in which companies interact with customers. Because business can be conducted everywhere, every time, customer interactions have become more streamlined and efficient. Take, for example, a company that is closing a business deal with an important customer over dinner. While discussing logistics, having the ability to pull up a document quickly and easily right at the table, via an iPad, could be paramount. Can you imagine having to 'quickly' access a file by placing a clunky laptop on the table and waiting for it to boot up? By then, the moment is gone and the customer is on to the next opportunity.
Despite all the benefits, BYOD comes with new data protection and security concerns for IT. Just who, exactly, is accessing critical company data and files? For many IT departments this question, alone, is grounds for panic. With personal devices logging onto the company network, flying under the radar and out of sight from IT's watchful eye, it becomes increasingly hard for IT to guarantee protection for data that travels outside the four walls of an organization.
The threat of company data getting into the hands of fraudsters and hackers is a very real one, with a recent Forrester survey finding that nearly 40 percent of professionals were concerned about security on their devices. The threat of data theft becomes even more pervasive when one considers the likelihood of an employee losing a device at one point or another, having it stolen, or simply leaving the company for good with their organization's critical data still on their personal device. This, in conjunction with employees backing up company data on personal storage applications housed on their devices, raise new security threats.
Innovative IT Departments to the Rescue
For the most innovative of IT departments, the security concerns surrounding the BYOD movement are only a minor speed bump on the road to increased employee productivity and satisfaction. Only recently, IT has found ways to seamlessly integrate BYOD into their IT policies in order to ensure the highest level of data protection. With strategies that offer consumer-grade simplicity and enterprise-grade technology, IT can ensure data is protected while employees are granted the connectivity and flexibility they expect.
These strategies include conducting regular security audits; adopting mobile device management (MDM) secure access solutions; tracking device use with a central management tool to ensure compliance; providing simple solutions for file access, sharing and security; and, most importantly, planning for the worst with a comprehensive business continuity plan.
Forward-thinking IT departments have not only embraced BYOD, but they have fully accepted their new role as an enabler. As such, the IT department is not only ensuring critical data is secure and available regardless of where or how it is stored and accessed, but that employees are granted the tools that allow them maximum productivity. With this top of mind, IT's mindset has evolved into 'how do you work best?' and, if that answer is 'on my iPhone or iPad,' then employees should have that option. With devices acting as the platform for an affordable, connected, data-driven workplace, putting the power of choice back into the hands of the employee becomes mutually beneficial for a company and its employees.
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