Four steps every CIO must take to incorporate consumer devices in the workplace.

The pressure for IT departments to respond to the trend towards BYOD (Bring Your Own Device to work) is building rapidly. This article lays out four practical steps to deploying consumer devices into the workplace.

The rise of the consumer device.

Ever since the CEO and CFO started sending iMessages to each other on their iPhones and showing up at board meetings with iPads in their briefcases instead of laptops, the IT department’s hold on corporate technology and corporate data started to slip. Increasingly technology is showing up first and foremost in consumer markets and then being taken into the corporate environment, often to the significant alarm of the IT department who are used to deploying the devices officially tested and approved by the organisation. Gartner puts it this way:

“The growing practice of introducing new technologies into consumer markets prior to industrial markets will be the most significant trend affecting information technology during the next 10 years.”

The challenge

Organisations and IT departments traditionally tasked to control costs, improve manageability and enhance security are now also facing new challenges of integrating mobile devices and becoming business enablers. This integration of multiple mobile devices has exposed a potential minefield of complexities as organisations struggle to align evolving user requirements to security and compliance demands.

How should the IT department respond?

Hunter Muller, author of “The transformational CIO” puts it bluntly.

“In today's environment—in the Age of Immediacy— the CIO can't afford to be seen as a naysayer. If you don't find a way to work with the business, the business just might find a way to work without you. At many companies, you will hear stories of business units that went ahead and purchased technology after losing patience with the IT department.”

In other words, if you don’t work with users on the devices they want, they are going to do it anyway, and that’s worse.

1. Prepare Your Network

Assess and potentially upgrade your wireless network to ensure it’s capable of supporting the additional bandwidth requirements of employee owned mobile devices, including adequate Quality of Service (QoS) controls for handling of critical traffic as well as voice and video.

2. Implement Security Architecture & Policies

Review your IT security policy to address non-company owned mobile assets, to include:
• Definition of the allowed types of devices and operating systems
• Device and application ownership and management
• Data loss prevention and compliance considerations
• Develop a granular network access strategy to address mobile devices.

3. Engage the non-IT stakeholders

Rolling out a BYOD solution by its very nature involves a wide variety of individuals and stakeholders. As with most change programmes there is ample opportunity for failure if planning is not done properly. Some areas to consider include:

  • Define the "classes" of users, what BYOD policy will apply to them and how the technology will support this.
  • Develop and clearly articulate the BYOD policy, including the employee’s responsibility, data access permissions and who will pay for what.
  • Ensure that HR and the legal department are fully engaged before the introduction of BYOD as the legal and employment ramifications are not to be underestimated.
  • Communicate to employees what is supported in a BYOD environment:

4. Monitor and Manage Activity
Management of mobile devices is increasingly challenging, but organisations can transfer management responsibilities to a third party. “There is a trend toward managed mobility” states Claudio Castelli, Senior Analyst at Ovum Research.“ Enterprises should loo k for providers that can offer device management capability and support for an increasing diversity of devices and the speed of development and new product launches in the device market.” Some of the things to consider are:

  • Implement a mobile device management (MDM) strategy that can provide complete provisioning, configuration, monitoring, and reporting for connecting BYOD mobile devices.
  • Deploy centralised and comprehensive wireless management and monitoring tools that provide converged user access and identity management with complete visibility into endpoint connectivity regardless of device, network or location
  • Review HR policies and take a practical approach to addressing compliance.

If you would like to read more about the trend towards BYOD, the business challenges that must be faced, how to make a business case and how to deploy BYOD safely in your organisation, why not...

Tags Digital Transformation, BYOD, IT security, IT consumerisation


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