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Guest View: Looking to implement BYOD?

Lim Kok Hin | Nov. 4, 2013
Executed properly, BYOD will help reduce cost with the bigger benefit of providing employees better job flexibility, productivity and satisfaction.

A Brief History of BYOD

In the late 2000s, BlackBerry was the preferred choice of the enterprise business world. Employer-provided BlackBerrys were the gold standard at many large corporations. IT departments raved about BlackBerry's secure infrastructure that was unmatched by other smartphone options, which were more focused on the consumer market.

Since then, the conversation has moved on in a big way. Android and Apple have grown to capture a large majority of the market share with many consumers using these personal devices at work. By the end of 2011, studies revealed that over 30 percent of BlackBerry's enterprise users were planning to switch to another device. Today, major smartphone manufacturers have added a slew of security features, bettering BlackBerry's once industry best features.

Anytime, Anywhere Worker

Today, Forrester estimates that 29 percent of the global workforce is an anytime, anywhere worker. This number has risen from the 23 percent of the global workforce in 2011, and will expect to see 905 million tablets in use for work and home globally by 2017. At this point, the BYOD movement appears unstoppable only if you've been ignoring the warning signs.

Earlier this year, a major technology company reported that half of its customers with a BYOD policy have experienced a security breach. A recent survey of LinkedIn's Information Security Group revealed that 75 percent of respondents said loss of company or client data was their top security concern with BYOD. A Globo study found that companies were not communicating their BYOD policies to employees, with 91 percent of respondents saying that they do not know if their company plans to implement a BYOD policy.

My opinion in the BYOD movement is that we have to acknowledge that these trends are bound to happen. It's how businesses take control and manage it that makes the difference. As the use of personal devices increases, businesses are struggling to strike the sweet spot between security and employee freedom of choice.

Companies need to find a balance between overly guarded on security measures and the freedom to express employee creativity. When businesses tighten security measures on BYOD, it restricts employees from accessing information, and gathering inspiration and ideas whilst on the on go. This will inevitably hurt employee efficiency and compromises on the opportunity to be innovative at their work.

BYOD can work for both the organisation and its employees, but businesses must first recognise BYOD as a strategic business trend that needs to be addressed from the security aspect. In fact, there is not enough education on how to have the right levels of security for organisations.

Someone Call Security!

At its most basic level, any company networked device from multifunction printers to personal devices, needs to be protected against both malicious attacks and simple employee carelessness in order to keep data out of unauthorised hands. Device security should not be a separate layer but should come integrated into the device. While we integrate security features for all our products, the same strategic framework of processes, people, and technology can be extended to personal devices.


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