21st March 2017

By Andrew Wild – Product Manager, Cloud. 

Are you really ready to embrace BYOD?

Generation Z, the post-Millennials, are always on their smartphones, right? Whether it’s Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Yelp, Qype, Tumblr, Fishbrain, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest … the list goes on. As this generation enters the workplace, they’ll expect to be able to use their own smartphones in their everyday business. This follows the increasing trend of businesses expecting to stop providing devices to their workers. As long ago as 2013, Gartner predicted that half of employers would stop providing devices to their employees by the end of this year.

As a quick aside, although I say “as long ago as 2013” the truth is that in ‘technology years‘ this is a long time ago! It reinforces the point that ‘time flies’ and technology evolution waits for no man – and no business!

Many businesses now allow their employees to bring their own devices to work. This is the widely discussed policy of ‘BYOD’. But the big question is, are businesses really ready to embrace such a fundamental change to their communications infrastructure… and are they really ready to manage the risks.

The thinking is that BYOD drives innovation, employee satisfaction, cost savings, flexibility and more. And this is all true. But, while rolling out applications throughout the workforce on their own devices presents new opportunities (beyond traditional mobile email and communications), it also highlights wider issues concerning authentication and security policies. Both aspects are critical to prevent serious violations of personal mobile device use, such as data breaches and the prevalence of malware.

Simply put, BYOD means that many businesses will no longer be in sole control of the end-user tools that they have traditionally provided to their employees. The risks of data leakage, viruses, keyboard logging, lost or stolen devices are clear and present dangers.

But, the good news is that there is an answer. Mobile device management (MDM) and data protection can now be incorporated directly into Office mobile apps. Device management policies can be applied across numerous devices with support for iOS, Android and Windows Operating Systems. This gives staff access to workplace applications, data and resources from almost any device from virtually anywhere, and – critically – it helps to ensure devices are secure & compliant.

Ask yourself just one quick question. When your ‘Top Gun’ sales lead goes AWOL and heads off to the competition, are you currently really able to protect and block the leakage of the confidential data held on their private device? Now think about this in the context of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which mandates stringent data protection rules from May 2018 and raises the specter of crippling fines for non-compliance. Now, ask yourself again… are you 100% certain you’re ready?

If you need some help thinking this through, please join us at one of our events or webinars. Ask us about Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security solution (EMS) which provides a cost-effective response to the challenges of BYOD. Please also look out for our videos ‘EMS in Real Life’ and ‘EMS Made Simple’ – or just give us a call and we’ll send you the links.

Watch the GCI Podcast about Enterprise Mobility & Security for BYOD

Free BYOD and GDPR eBook