Equipping your staff with the hardware needed to work remotely is often easier said than done. The concept of ‘Enterprise Mobility’ – allowing employees to work remotely and flexibly – was growing in popularity long before the Covid-19 crisis arrived. This meant that many ‘tech-savvy’ workplaces already had structures in place to enable effective, secure remote working in some form; but for many other businesses knowing where to start has been a bit of a struggle.
Whether your business falls into the latter category or you’re an Enterprise mobility pro, let’s review some common approaches to Enterprise mobility so you can decide on the best strategy for your businesses.
Should I provide my team with desktops, laptops and other devices?
There is no right and wrong answer to this question. The approach you take to devise provision will depend on factors such as your budget and the level of oversight you feel you need. In our opinion, it’s best to provide work-dedicated devices if possible and devise a comprehensive device policy that sets out guidelines and rules for the secure use of devices so that your business’ data is never put at risk. Let’s take a look at some of the more common enterprise mobility strategies.
This is the practice of allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes. It has grown in popularity in recent years and it’s estimated that around 67% of businesses permit BYOD in some capacity.
- Increased Productivity. There is some data to suggest that employees are more productive on devices they are familiar with – there is less of a learning curve. Personal devices are usually of a higher specification than employer-provided alternatives too, meaning BYOD devices are often faster and more responsive.
- Your Team will enjoy having the ability to work and manage their personal lives from a single device. BYOD eliminates the need for separate devices for work and personal use.
- Cost savings. With BYOD there are no upfront costs (usually) in terms of device acquisition for employers. This represents potentially massive savings at the organisation level. With potentially lower maintenance obligations and a reduced need for support and training, BYOD may also reduce your IT team’s workload. As an employer, you may want to cover some of the costs such as a data plan or insurance, but overall BYOD is the lowest-cost enterprise mobility strategy.
- BYOD is inherently less secure than other options. If an employee leaves your company bear in mind that they own that device and will take it with them to their next job. Do you have a mechanism to remove corporate data from the device in that situation or would you rely on the individual acting in good faith? You could deploy a mobile device management solution to manage security, but employees may be resistant to this. Alternatively, you could require that employees surrender their devices to your IT team for routine check-ups but again some employees may consider this an invasion of their privacy. Ultimately a BYOD policy means employers giving up some degree of control.
- Compatibility issues. If your business uses niche software, then a BYOD policy may result in incompatibility issues. Installation issues may be encountered, and device limitations may compromise functionality.
- Support could be a challenge. IT support is harder when your team have a huge number of different devices to contend with. Staying up to speed with many different operating systems will be tough, and with an increased likelihood of compatibility issues, your tech team will have quite a job on their hands.
BYOD can work…with a comprehensive BYOD policy
A BYOD policy sets out the responsibilities of both employers and employees in relation to the safe use of the personal device. It’s a vital component of a BYOD strategy; here are some things to consider when creating one:
- The Employee’s responsibilities – costs they are responsible for, what should happen if a device is lost/stolen, compliance obligations, security settings that should be implemented and ‘acceptable use’ guidelines.
- Any device management/ technical support required. Be upfront and honest about the level of access your IT team may need to personal devices. Transparency is vital; if device management or coordination with your IT team is required then it’s important to make this clear in the BYOD policy.
- Include a list of approved devices. You may have to exclude certain devices for compatibility reasons.
- Draw a line between ‘personal’ and ‘private.’ Define ‘company-owned data’ and explain the rules for the management of this data and the rights of your company to remove it from the device if necessary.
- Include a list of prohibited apps. Some mobile apps are notorious for introducing malware to mobile devices – these could compromise the security of your data.
Need greater control? The alternatives to BYOD
Some of the perks of BYOD, with reduced risk for employers, a ‘choose your own device policy’ involves employees choosing a device from a pre-approved list. The employer then purchases the device while retaining ownership and ultimate control. Employees get to choose a shiny new device and employers get MDM peace of mind. However, this is a costly route to go down.
COPE (Corporately owned, personally enabled)
Like CYOD in some ways only this model usually involves employers more tightly controlling the devices issued – the IT department works with selected vendors resulting in a smaller range of devices in the company’s network. COPE issued devices are extensively managed and controlled by the employer but are permitted for personal use, so employees won’t feel the need to carry multiple devices.
COBO (Corporately owned, business only)
This option affords maximum control for employers. COBO issued devices feature extensive device management and may be configured to run only the applications and services needed for the job role – this could, in theory, mean a laptop or tablet running a single application. While secure, a COBO strategy could result in the risky use of shadow IT if employees find the device too restrictive.
We’re Elixis Technology
In the ever-changing, technology-centric world we live in, it’s vital to have an I.T. solution source you can count on. At Elixis Technology, it is our mission to help businesses — big and small — produce the results their customers demand, with technology that actually works.