2012 has been a year of great achievement for Virtela. One case in point: we are closing the year with 40 industry awards recognizing our continuous innovation in the cloud, our unique approach towards managed services, our partnership-based model and our exceptional customer support. These achievements instill a sense of great pride in our company, but more importantly, they motivate and drive us to continue to innovate and achieve the highest standards possible to help our customers and partners succeed.
Apple was certainly the talk of the town at this month’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company introduced a grocery list of new updates. Between expected announcements for Mac OS X and iOS, as well as a few surprises along the way, Apple demonstrated once again why it’s one of the biggest names in the consumer tech industry.
But then, maybe that description does Apple a disservice. After all, can we really say Apple is still a company geared toward the consumer market? You’re not likely to see a great deal of Mac desktops in the workplace. But the iPhone? In this age of consumerization and bring your own device, seeing one of your co-workers pull out the smartphone isn’t likely to come as much of a surprise anymore.
The bring-your-own-device movement that has emerged in recent years is, for the IT department, kind of like eating brussel sprouts for the first time. You know it’s good for you, and on some level, you even enjoy it. Ultimately, though, it’s unfamiliar territory that you might not be enthusiastic to gobble up.
But unlike brussel sprouts there is legitimate reason to be concerned when it comes to BYOD.
Dawn of a new era
Just a few years ago, BlackBerry ruled the roost of enterprise mobility. Everybody who was anybody had one of these smartphones – which, by today’s standards, were not all that smart. Sure, they allowed you to check email and browse some version of the web. But they lacked the robust apps and appeal of today’s idea of the smartphone. What they might have lacked in functionality, however, they made up for in other areas.
The rapid deployment and adoption of mobile devices has led to a very real need for Acceptable Use Policies and Mobile Security Policies. In my first blog post in this series, I will be discussing key points in developing policies around mobile devices and will give specific examples of language that I have seen used in employee communication of these policies.
Consider the enforcement
Any policy written isn’t fully useful if it isn’t enforced and reiterated. All users should know the policies upon hire. Also, keeping the policies relevant by communicating them on a regular basis is important. These policies should be treated the same way that HR policies are developed and referenced.
In my last blog, I touched on the first part of crafting a BYOD program: define your goals, assess your risk tolerance, and identify the key stakeholders in your program’s development.
The next step? Build your strategy. Here are a few things to consider:
Determine who will be allowed to bring their own devices
Many companies choose to slow roll BYOD, enabling only certain groups of employees in the first round and then opening it up to more employees at a later date. This allows them to test the waters before they dive right in.
I recently spent some time reading the recently released “iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report”, which is a good resource on mobility trends based on a survey.
Two statistics that I found especially interesting were:
- 91% [of respondents] use their smartphones for work, compared to 69% in 2010.
- 58% of mobile employees are provisioned smartphones by their companies; this is down from nearly two-thirds a year ago. 42% of employees have individually liable smartphones.
Smart phones have become a de facto work tool, however fewer of those smartphones are being provided by the corporation. Instead of carrying around multiple phones/tablets, we dual purpose our personal devices for work.
OMG was my first reaction when I read an article about a man ringing up a $200K cell phone bill. The man is deaf and mute. He uses his cell phone as his primary way of communicating. He didn’t know about roaming charges and got hit for roaming on 2000 text messages and countless video downloads. Here is the article for your reference.
So think about the liabilities companies face today with employees using their corporate or employee-owned mobile devices for both work and personal use. Many companies pay for their employees’ mobile phone usage charges, how do they protect themselves from misuse or abuse and ultimately limit their financial exposure?
For businesses, mobility is the gold rush of today, with many looking to get smartphones into the hands of their employees as quickly as possible. By now, we’ve all heard about the inevitable risks of consumerization of IT, and the importance of mobile device management to get the most value out of enterprise mobility.
So now, businesses are preparing for the technology, putting most of their efforts toward weighing their options on smartphones. Sure, mobile device management is a consideration, and many believe that as long as they have any MDM solution in place, they’ve covered all the bases.
We can probably all agree by this point that smartphones have been good for business. And not just smartphones – tablets, Facebook, Twitter – all those technologies we like to use during our lunch breaks or when vegging out of the couch have also proven beneficial, in one way or another, in the workplace.
Now more than ever, companies are letting people take their personal devices to work or surf social networks in the office – a trend that’s often referred to as “consumerization of IT.” A more accurate title, though, may be “causing frustration for IT.” While employees and executives may appreciate the consumerization, it can create serious headaches for the IT departments that have to account for them.
Previously, Ben had blogged about Why Mobile Device Management (MDM) is necessary for today’s enterprises. Today, I would like to touch on how to secure mobile devices. The main two components of securing mobile devices are 1) securing the connection between the mobile device and the corporate network, and 2) securing the device itself.
Securing the Connection