In my experience, IT systems managers typically face a choice. They can do their best to keep everything except company-owned devices off the network, or they can embrace the new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ethos that many companies increasingly accept as inevitable.
The first option may seem tempting, but it’s a losing game. Employees’ smart phones and iPads are an ever-more important tool for both personal and professional productivity. Barring them from the work environment is bad for morale and, frankly, bad for your IT system. The truth is people are going to bring these devices to work, and when they do, they will want them on the network. If you don’t give them a safe and secure way to connect, they will inevitably try to find their own way in — possibly through work-arounds that create new problems for the system.
The smart IT executive must lean to embrace the BYOD concept and create policies that allow workers the flexibility they need while maintaining a stable and secure network environment.
While not an exhaustive list, here are a few key issues that should be top of mind for anyone considering a BYOD system in the workplace:
●Welcome personal devices, but make sure you know what they are and how they will be supported.
Employees should be given clear guidelines on what sort of devices are allowed to have access to the enterprise network. In some cases, clients of mine have found it useful to give employees a personal technology budget.
They allow them to choose between a company-issued device and, say, $1,500 to spend on an alternative of their choice. Those alternative devices, of course, must meet certain standards, but they allow the employee some flexibility if they want to use something different from the company’s standard issue machine. It also means that the company might benefit from improved technology when employees opt for more sophisticated equipment, covering any additional cost out of their own pockets.
Such a system, however, must include a requirement that employees obtain hardware support for their device, as no corporate IT department can expect to be able to service a wide range of devices.