A recent survey commissioned by CA Technologies queried 1,300 senior IT leaders from around the world and found that they understand and appreciate the benefits of mobility, but they’re still seriously concerned about security, privacy, platform support, and budget constraints.
In the US, an overwhelming majority of respondents recognized the need for using mobility to realize business opportunities, and those that have successfully implemented mobility see increased revenues, faster time-to-market, a stronger competitive edge, and enhanced employee productivity.
Hurdles to Making BYOD and Mobility Deliver
As advantageous as mobility and BYOD can be, businesses have to deal with some hurdles to get to where these concepts deliver real business value. Not only do they need to deploy apps that give employees mobile access to important data and functionality, they have to ensure apps provide seamless access and functionality without compromising security. And, of course, the IT department has to be able to support and secure a large number of different mobile devices.
To make BYOD and mobility deliver requires forethought, planning, and strong policies.
One of the first steps toward a mobility and BYOD setup that delivers results is identifying core business areas that are expected to provide the strongest return on investment (ROI). On top of that comes building a mobility infrastructure and dealing with device fragmentation due to the large number of different consumer devices.
MDM / MAM
Mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) are keys to mobility that delivers. A clear MDM / MAM strategy cuts expenses, provides secure access for employees from their mobile devices, and allows administrators to oversee operation of mobile devices. The results of a strong MDM / MAM policy include:
• Higher efficiency – by reducing errors
• Better employee satisfaction – because everyone knows where their devices and their apps stand
• Greater profits – due to increased productivity and more responsive customer service
• Cost savings – due to increased employee mobility and a sharper competitive edge
Getting the BYOD Policy Right
Mobility and BYOD can’t work for long without a strong BYOD policy. Developing such a policy requires several steps:
• Specifying which devices are permitted
• Establishing a strict security policy for all devices
• Defining a service policy and support options
• Determining which apps are allowed and which are not
• Integrating the BYOD policy with the organization’s acceptable usage policy
• Establishing the right to manage devices with access to corporate resources
• Determining and communicating consequences of inappropriate device use
• Developing a strategy for when employees leave the organization
Your organization may choose not to accommodate every type of employee device.
Critical risks that must be addressed in your BYOD policy include data confidentiality, employee privacy, device support, and MDM / MAM. With BYOD and mobility, IT can’t afford to be reactive, triaging and addressing problems as they arise.
Without strong security surrounding mobility and BYOD, measurable gains are offset by risks that are too great for businesses to assume. End-users must be educated on what they can and cannot do with their devices in the corporate environment, as well as which apps they’re allowed to use and which they’re not. Some organizations install additional tools for activity monitoring or limiting device functions based on location.
When a company commits to mobility and BYOD, it must revisit wireless LAN access control to ensure security and service delivery, and to make sure access to critical data is not compromised. For some, this may mean implementing new networking solutions that integrate with MDM / MAM to designate the specific level of access based on user and type of device.
The Right BYOD / Mobility Mindset
The right organizational mindset for mobility and BYOD must be strategic, secure, selective, and prepared. Being strategic means aligning BYOD and mobility with IT and business strategies, and being secure means ensuring devices allowed onto the network are subject to the same stringent security requirements as non-mobile devices connected to the network. Organizations have to be selective among the many vendors that offer mobility solutions, and they have to prepare for further advances in technology, which are happening every day.
The Benefits Can Be Significant
The CA Technologies survey referenced above was quite positive on the measurable benefits of a strong mobility and BYOD strategy. At least three-quarters of respondents have already seen or expect to see many benefits from their mobility initiatives, including more customers, higher revenues, better customer service, and higher productivity. When asked to quantify their improvements, respondents reported:
• 23% improvement in customer satisfaction
• 21% better employee retention
• 20% higher revenues
• 17% lower costs