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Jun 17, 2013

BYOD: Like the Mac, It’s Here to Stay

BYOD: the critics said it wouldn’t last -- but, if you remember, that’s what the critics said about the Apple MacIntosh in 1984 – and most other Apple products since. And, we all know what happened with the Mac, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Same thing with BYOD -- it’s here to stay and its influence on business is continuing to grow. Consider this: in 2012, 155.1 million people in the US alone were smartphone users, that’s 49.4% of the US population, according to IDC. The research firm also predicts that in 2017, 222.4 million people in the US -- 67.8% of the population -- will be smartphone users. The fact is that consumerization is fueling the BYOD (bring your own device) movement and forward-thinking organizations are looking to embrace employee choice and mobile computing because they understand that it makes their workers more effective and more productive. And every organization that wants to stay a step ahead of its competitors must also adopt and support BYOD programs. Hundreds of millions of employees across the globe are using smartphones as well as other mobile devices like tablets and phablets. But as more and more consumer-owned devices are introduced into the workplace, companies worry -- and rightly so -- about the risks to their sensitive corporate data. Still, it’s not really productive for IT to dictate which enterprise mobile apps employees can access to help them do their jobs better. Rather, IT should make a variety of these apps -- along with an explanation of their benefits -- available to employees. That’s why it’s important for IT to secure and manage the data on these apps to ensure that company data isn't leaking out into employees’ personal apps and services. And controlling the data means that IT doesn't have to touch the actual devices. So, instead of telling your employees that they can’s use Dropbox, for instance, IT just has to be sure that critical company information/documents aren't stored there. The best strategy for protecting sensitive company data is through mobile application management (MAM), which is often used in conjunction with an enterprise app store. Mobile application management is a security-focused BYOD strategy that enables IT to secure and control company data by managing enterprise apps that have access to that data -- leaving employees to control their own personal devices. MAM lets organizations encrypt, set and enforce policies for enterprise apps including how documents are stores and shared. Then when a worker leaves the organization, only the apps that are managed by IT are removed. Throughout the process, a user’s personal apps and data remain untouched. Bottom line: embrace the productivity gains of the consumerization of IT and BYOD -- but be sure to protect your corporate data while enabling your employees to access that information whenever, wherever, and however they want. That way you’ll keep your employees – and IT – happy as well as productive.  


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