BYOD or Bring Your Own Device (to work) is one of those widely discussed ideas that you can’t avoid hearing about even if you tried. However, with that said I’ll start off with a quick explanation in case you aren’t familiar with BYOD:
“Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) describes the recent trend of employees bringing personally-owned mobile devices to their place of work, and using those devices to access privileged company resources such as email, file servers, and databases.” – The Internet
You can read a hundred different articles (at least) spelling out the pros and cons of the BYOD movement, but the reality is that this isn’t new and it isn’t going to end. Any downside to the idea can and should be overcome. There are plenty of mobile management and security tools that already exist that can assist in rounding out your company’s BYOD policies. And, if you can’t find a preexisting solution that delivers what you need there are plenty of ways to approach a custom one.
It may seem like a headache and you may feel that though the benefits are many they are still outweighed by the few potential handicaps. Even if you feel this way you should keep in mind that this is a growing trend that is likely to continue with or without your agreement. A recent IDC study shows that although only 40 percent of IT decision makers let employees access corporate information from employee-owned devices, 70 percent of employees are accessing corporate data via personal devices anyway. As a company you can put time and resources into stopping your employees from doing this, but it seems like that same energy could be put towards allowing the process to safely and effectively continue with benefits to both employee and company.
I decided to write this blog after reading an article from CIO.com titled BYOD Policy Bites Vacationing CEO. Basically, Peter Bauer, CEO of Mimecast, lost a bunch of personal photos when his company’s remote wipe policy was initiated after his daughter entered the incorrect PIN 5 times in a row when trying to unlock his phone. Bauer admits that these policies are a work in progress and will change as they continue to move forward. I think the article grabs people’s attention by being one of the few written on BYOD that doesn’t immediately sing its praises (and is definitely what caught my attention). But, really this seems like a fairly easy situation to avoid. If you can remote wipe someone’s device while they are on a different continent then I’m fairly certain you could remotely backup that same device prior to the wipe, also most iPhones are automatically backing themselves up on iCloud now anyway, and as a general rule don’t let your young daughter use your phone if you know your company has a remote wipe policy after invalid password entry, espeically if you have personal info on the phone that you don’t want to lose 🙂