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BYOD : Why it is Critical to Ensure Device Visibility, Along with Flexibility

Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, have driven the consumerization of IT and continue to change how people expect to operate in their personal and work environments. In most cases, organizations looked to avoid the trend entirely by continuing to support their own systems and hardware. Increasing demand and promise for mobile devices, however, have changed the game plan for many businesses, particularly as people look to take advantage of remote work opportunities while remaining connected.

Company leaders are increasingly looking into the benefits and potential that mobile devices could afford their operations. Bring-your-own-device or BYOD policies are being increasingly implemented to maintain control over access to critical information and guide hardware use. It will be critical to strike a balance between flexibility and ensuring that IT professionals have visibility into all the devices active within the business’ network.

BYOD Adoption on the Rise

More employees are looking to leverage their personal mobile devices for work purposes, and businesses are starting to get on board with the trend. According to Gartner, 39 percent of employees are using their own smartphones and phablets for work. However, personal devices are difficult for organizations to govern. Gartner’s report found that another 23 percent are given corporate-issued smartphones. This might establish company control but doesn’t always give workers the flexibility they desire.

BYOD adoption is on the rise, but it can impact network visibility.Organizations are increasingly jumping to support BYOD or strike a compromise for using mobile hardware. A 2015 survey by Tech Pro Research found that 74 percent of organizations are using or planning to roll out BYOD policies. However, security was one of the biggest concerns for respondents. As more smart and connected devices emerge, employees will look to see what this hardware has to offer and will expect businesses to accommodate this equipment. The Internet of Things also serves as a major security risk if organizations don’t prepare for it. Connected devices don’t have the same protection methods and are often left with preset passwords, which can be easy for hackers to guess, impacting your network security. Even within businesses that don’t allow mobile devices, there is a chance that employees will use them anyway. Rather than take this risk for opening suspicious activity on the network, leaders must create comprehensive plans that accommodate flexibility while ensuring device visibility across the board.

Visibility Required for Various Functions

If you don’t know what equipment is active within your environment, that could leave you wide open for security breaches and other critical risks. For regulated industries in particular, a lack of visibility can create compliance concerns and impact operations. In an industry survey, the majority of health care respondents noted that they require visibility to investigate security incidents, ensure network and information assets are protected, and detect and mitigate errors and misuse. Health care IT leaders listed BYOD as the top area where they needed more visibility, Becker’s Hospital Review reported. Without a clear overview, it’s significantly more difficult for organizations to protect against infection vectors and ensure that sensitive information is safe.

Ransomware, malware and other cyber threats are increasingly targeting mobile devices and unsuspecting users in the forms of applications, emails and malicious links. To make matters worse, some smartphone owners don’t implement the most basic security measures on their devices like passwords, lock screen codes and two-factor authentication. Without these protections, attackers have an easier way to gain access to other areas of the company and get away with sensitive data.

“MDM alongside application management can create the perfect balance of flexibility and visibility in BYOD environments.”

Mixing Flexibility With Control

Organizations and employees must come to an agreement over mobile devices and ensure that users are satisfied with their options. Some companies will offer an array of devices for employees to choose from. This gives them the ability to pick something they prefer while also allowing the company to easily secure and integrate the hardware. It’s vital to continually update the list of preapproved devices and methods necessary to protect them. Within the various mobile device enablement environments, leaders must be able to leverage mobile device management to detect unusual activities, wipe the hardware if it’s lost, stolen or breached, and ensure that sensitive data is secure.

MDM alongside application management can create the perfect balance of flexibility and visibility in BYOD environments. Users can still leverage their own hardware, but employers must make it clear that certain procedures will be expected. For example, workers might need to use basic security measures and allow data access only for approved programs. Making these plans clear from the start will give staff a better idea of what they’re up against as well as the potential consequences for misusing mobile devices.

Business leaders can leverage a wide variety of mobile strategies to utilize the equipment effectively and reap associated benefits. However, mobile devices should not come at the expense of visibility and control over important data. MDM solutions have evolved to give companies better control over this type of environment while still ensuring a pleasant user experience. To learn more about how to implement BYOD while striking a solid balance between visibility and flexibility, contact Faronics today.

About The Author

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, expert on Reboot Restore Technology when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.

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