Some BYOD Technology Recommendations

This is the sixteenth post in my series on BYOD. In my last post on the subject I discussed a range of technologies that can be used to solve issues raised by BYOD. Here I’d like to give my broad recommendations around which of those technologies are most likely to solve the kinds of problems that are typically found in organisations that are looking to embrace BYOD. As with any generic set of recommendations what I’m suggesting here may not suit your organisation’s specific  needs, but I will raise some points that I think everyone selecting technology for BYOD should consider. And, as always, remember that technology is not the answer, it should only form part of a total solution delivering “people, process and technology” for your particular business outcomes.

  1. MDM is not the answer! You don’t want the hassles and responsibilities that come with managing your employees devices.  In general I favour moving away from managing devices towards managing data, and in that respect MDM is a backwards step. MDM also does not give you the separation of personal data from business data that is, I think, essential to a well run BYOD programme.
  2. Investigate the use of secure container technologies. These are definitely my favourite technology for solving BYOD problems as they have many advantages and are a better fit with where I believe the future of end user computing is going. Secure containers have the advantages of supporting the separation of personal and business data and moving you towards managing the data rather than the device. If an employee has the device lost or stolen, you can wipe the company data, without deleting their personal files (such as photos), and you can’t “look” at employee data. These features will help establish trust between employees and your solution.
  3. Virtual desktops are definitely not the answer to BYOD (I didn’t buy an iPad to run a Windows desktop!), but can be a good way of delivering services that are hard to get onto mobile devices in other ways.
  4. Look into Data Loss Prevention (DLP) as a way of getting better control of your data. Whether you use a general DLP product, or a more specific mobile DLP product these can have significant additional benefits in preventing data loss, leakage and embarrassing incidents.
  5. Don’t stop at delivering email. Email is a minimum requirement, not a maximum. Choose technologies that will allow you to extend your BYOD services to include other services such as collaboration or line-of-business applications.
  6. As much as you can, purchase these solutions on an as-a-service basis. The mobile technology space is changing so fast, you don’t want to be caught in a couple of years with a significant investment in obsolete technology, so don’t buy, rent!

Above all else, remember to focus your technology solutions on solving the specific business problems and addressing the specific business drivers for your organisation.

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