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Creating an Effective BYOD Policy

Six tips for success

Employees like the ability to choose.  Whether it be choosing the hours they work or whether or not they can telecommute to work, choosing makes them feel empowered, which tends to boost their job satisfaction.

Another area in which they enjoy being given choice is how they can communicate and collaborate.  To accommodate this choice, businesses will do well to implement a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.  This policy will allow workers to choose whatever mobile device they prefer to carry out many of their work-related functions.  One downside to BYOD is that CIOs have to face many challenges related to an abundance of mobile devices, none of which they have full control over, accessing internal networks.

At one time, mobile devices were mostly used to carry out simple communications between a wide array of mobile users, mostly through phone calls and texts.  Over the years, however, the popularity of applications has quickly made its way into the hands of almost all mobile device users.  These applications allow users to play games, edit photos, carry out personal and business tasks and much more.

It is estimated that by the year 2014, which is right around the corner, more than 90 percent of businesses will need to support a BYOD policy. Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of these businesses don't have a BYOD policy yet in place, let alone effective BYOD security standards.

When creating BYOD strategies, CIOs need to keep the following six considerations in mind:

1. Corporate Policies Need to Apply to BYOD
The same policies that are enforced for corporate-issued devices need to apply in the same way to BYOD devices. Without a consistent policy across all platforms, corporate chaos is almost guaranteed.

2. Initiate Syncing Requirements
There is much that can go wrong with a BYOD plan. For example, if an employee uploads data to his or her own wireless device but fails to sync it with other corporate devices, the data will only be available for viewing on the employee's device; this can cause much headache and frustration. All workers who are given clearance to view certain levels of corporate data need to be kept in the loop. To do this, syncing among all devices needs to take place on a daily basis.

3. Complexity Is a Given
With more mobile devices accessing a company network, it is only common sense that the complextity of software updates and authentication processes will be enhanced. Because of this, a company CIO needs to always have a plan in place to address these issues.

4. Wireless Traffic Will Increase
With an increase in wireless traffic to the implementation of a BYOD policy, a CIO needs to be aware that lower communications quality is likely to be endured. In addition, higher communication costs could prevail. To combat such issues, it is best to allow all wireless traffic to take place via a local Wi-Fi network.

5. Apps, Apps and More Apps
In addition to allowing employees to download company apps, there is a major benefit gained when allowing them to download third-party apps. With an app for almost everything these days, employees will enjoy being able to access apps that are directly delivered to them from their employers. CIOs need to remember, however, that regular monitoring of third-party apps needs to be conducted to ensure the security of a BYOD policy is being maintained.

6. It's Not Good to Get Comfortable
A traditional mobile security policy will not suffice for BYOD. An entirely new security policy needs to be created in order for BYOD to work well. Most importantly, the following three layers of defense need to be included within a BYOD policy:

  • Dual-factor authentication
  • Role-defined user policies
  • Virtual private network encryption

Naturally, each BYOD policy will be unique to every organization, but remembering these key points will help ensure that the BYOD policy is effective.

More Stories By Gil Allouche

Gil Allouche is the Vice President of Marketing at Qubole. Most recently Sr. Director of Marketing for Karmasphere, a leading Big Data Analytics company offering SQL access to Apache Hadoop, where he managed all marketing functions, Gil brings a keen understanding of the Big Data target market and its technologies and buyers. Prior to Karmasphere, Gil was a product marketing manager and general manager for the TIBCO Silver Spotfire SaaS offering where he developed and executed go-to-market plans that increased growth by 600 percent in just 18 months. Gil also co-founded 1Yell, a social media ad network company. Gil began his marketing career as a product strategist at SAP while earning his MBA at Babson College and is a former software engineer.

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