BYOD (bring your own device) plan basics – Security and support

By - December 29, 2015

In my last post BYOD (bring your own device) plan basics and cost savings for your company, I laid out the main aspects of a BYOD plan. In this post I touch on BYOD security and support.

Smartphones are little computers and are subject to hacks just as computers are. And now with BYOD plans, your company data could be on a non-company owned device, so there needs to be some level of security in place.  There are many Mobile Device Management or MDM products that help secure a company’s tablet and smartphone fleet.  One of these products is essential to a BYOD plan’s success and the company’s security needs.  An MDM product will also allow the company to maintain control over who is actively connecting their devices, as well as assist IT in understanding where they might have risk.  The IT Help Desk will also be involved because when issues are experienced by users, the help desk will be expected to perform their magic on a wide variety of platforms and aged devices to resolve any issues their users encounter.  Many companies address this by use of a supported devices list.  This will narrow the scope of the devices and platforms supported by the help desk to reduce the amount of knowledge the help desk must maintain to adequately support their users.  Companies need to have a well-defined BYOD Plan to properly scope and support end users as well as protect their company’s data.

End users have grown into masters of smartphones and tablets over the last seven or eight years. Now it seems everyone owns a smartphone and a majority of people have tablets.  Everything from playing games, to social media, to email, to company applications are being used on smartphones and tablets.  With this wide range of personal and work use, a company needs to identify risks and ensure both the employee and company are as protected as possible.  The BYOD Plan should cover acceptable use and security enough to ensure employees and the company understand their responsibilities and risks.

I remember back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s when I had my own personal cell phone and then my company cell phone. Having to remember where both were and trying to use each one appropriately was such a pain.  Then I was issued my first smartphone with the understanding that I could also use it for personal use.  My days of carrying two devices had ended, it felt so good to only have one phone.  But then I needed to maintain the device and worry about its security.  I remember hearing daily of the employees that would leave their phone in a taxi, or at an airport, or at some restaurant and the pain it was to go through reporting it lost/stolen and requesting a new one, plus not having a phone for a few days.  That was the start of having separation issues with being “connected”.  It also was a painful reminder to both the employee and the company on the need to have proper security on a phone.  Everyone should still remember the guy who left the iPhone in the bar one night and it happened to be the new iPhone that was to be released in the next few weeks.  Great publicity or stupid move still is questionable.  But the overlying theme is to know where your devices are and to keep them secure.

For more in-depth information on BYOD plans or MDM products, contact us.

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