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Chaos Just Around the Corner
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Chaos Just Around the Corner

What to watch out for when realizing a BYOD strategy

“A private device in the enterprise network?!” The cries of horror from the people in charge of IT in the company were heart-rending. Yet there are good reasons for officially allowing associates to use their private mobile devices even for the processing of company data. Once opportunities and risks have been carefully weighed against one other, the realization of a BYOD strategy within the constraints of security regulations can begin.

While the choice of operating system in notebooks provided by the companies – if left up to the IT departments – clearly favors the overwhelming market leader from Microsoft, the situation for the selection of the eco-system in company-own cell phones is not nearly so obvious. In most cases, the careful consideration of all of the features has led IT departments to take Windows Mobile, Symbian from Nokia, or BlackBerry from RIM because these systems were able to provide overall solutions with remote maintenance before the dawn of the iPhone and Android era.

The trend is toward the use of private devices in the company

The classic mobile systems dominated the market for (business) smartphones for many years, but they have not been able to keep pace with the fast innovation cycles of the  former newcomers, Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, which have now become firmly established in their own right. This technological lag is prompting more and more associates to use their private mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and  notebooks to handle their e-mails and documents even in the company. The consequence is a potential security risk for the company data because the company’s own IT department has no control whatsoever over the associates’ devices.

The use of private devices for business has either been approved by the IT departments or is tacitly tolerated; in many cases, the employer is completely unaware that it is happening. Basically all companies work with sensitive data, so there is a fundamental interest in protecting these data and allowing solely the right recipients to access them. But the more mobile the devices and the less control the company has over them, the more difficult it becomes to ensure this data security.

The simplest solution for the IT departments – strictly excluding the use of private devices – is obsolete and has a demotivating effect on associates. Moreover, it can certainly be said that associates who use the device of their choice and the infrastructure they prefer for both personal and business activities will be more efficient and more motivated to carry out the duties and responsibilities assigned to them even when away from their workplace.

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