Does anyone out there remember the Naked Gun “Police Squad” movies, made by the guys who brought us Airplane? The tagline for the second movie was “Frank Drebin is back. Just accept it.” That spirit of quiet resignation also applies to the concept of Bring Your Own Device. It’s here to stay, so companies would do well to just accept it.
Yes, it’s the old “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” maneuver. This is mainly because employees always find ways to use their personal devices at the workplace whether you allow it or not. It is better that you stop playing the role of a villain and start following BYOD policy but that acceptance should come with conditions.
The Principle of BYOD
The rise of mobile technology means that people no longer need leave their computers at home. Back in the Elder Days (the 1990’s, for instance) people used a desktop computer to do their business. Today’s technology offers a variety of devices that are not only more powerful than their primitive ancestors but are portable as well. There are smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and often people carry more than one of those around at the same time!
Bring Your Own Device means that employees use their “home” device for the purposes of doing their job. While this means a smaller financial burden on the company (the business doesn’t have to spend money on equipping employees with a device or buying Android and iPhone spy app for company-owned devices), it brings a host of challenges with it.
According to a report cited in the article “BYOD: In? Out? On the Fence? The Real Scoop on the Future of BYOD”, the number of companies that don’t allow BYOD has increased from 34 to 53 percent. Another study, however, says that by 2017, 50% of all businesses will require their employees to practice BYOD.
It’s time to cut through the confusion and lay out some much-needed wisdom.
People Will Find Their Way Around Restrictions
Companies may have anti-BYOD policies in place, but they hire humans to work for them, a species known for being a) law-breaking, and b) resourceful. That’s why you can have one survey that says that more companies are banning BYOD, and another, most likely with many responses coming from actual users, saying that BYOD is on the rise.
The simple fact is, many IT departments are busy enough as it is without trying to hunt down shadow IT users. Unfortunately, these unauthorized users aren’t taking into consideration that their devices become an Achilles heel for their company’s information systems, and that’s why companies today need to …
Make It Acceptable, Then Regulate The Hell Out Of It
Anyways, as far as BYOD goes, the best approach is for companies to simply accept the fact that it’s here. No amount of threats, cajoling, rules, or policies will change that. So it would be in everyone’s best interest to simply frame a series of policies and procedures that govern BYOD use.
Some may argue that people who scoffed at a BYOD ban would simply ignore a newly-minted BYOD policy. However, understand that people go with BYOD even when they’re not supposed to because it’s easier and more convenient. But a sane, consistent BYOD policy that makes it even easier than going through all the hoops and hurdles will be infinitely more preferable.
Make sure your company covers things like password protocol and choices. Review the proper ways to carry around your device in public (e.g. “don’t leave your BYOD device unattended”). Make a list of approved software and app. You may also install employee monitoring apps on their devices but with their approval.
By having everyone in compliance and on the same page, you’ll see a reduction in headaches and risks. Hopefully, people can then take all of that energy and effort otherwise waste on the BYOD drama and focus it on making the company’s IT department even better.