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Whose data is it anyways?

Published: April 20th, 2015 By: Robert Dutt

Bring your own device (BYOD) brings with it a number of benefits and challenges, both for the users and for IT management. Regardless of your reason for going BYOD – whether you want to get out of the business of buying smartphones for your employees, or you’ve been forced to go BYOD because of executives revolting at the idea of being barred from having the latest and greatest tech toys – there are a number of things you have get your brain around to get the most out of BYOD in your business.


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Paradoxically, one of the biggest issues to sort out in a BYOD world is ownership. Not of the device, of course. The very nature of BYOD solves that one for you. No, the issue is about the really important stuff – your enterprise data.

No matter which way you go, BYOD or choose your own device (CYOD), modern enterprise mobile trends mean that somewhere, somehow, your corporate data and apps, and your employees’ personal information, data, and apps are going to have to co-exist peacefully on the same device. Here are some key tips to make that relationship as harmonious as possible.

Have a clear policy

It may seem a ridiculous oversimplification to say that in order to enforce a solid BYOD policy, you’ve got to have a solid BYOD policy. But research shows that up to one third of organizations still don’t allow BYOD, and up to 60 per cent of organizations don’t have a policy to govern how and when corporate data and personal data are allowed to intermingle on a device. You don’t have to go it alone to craft a policy that meets your needs. Companies like Rogers offer comprehensive BYOD policy design services, including best practices gained through implementations with customers across Canada, and a customized engagement to help match those best practices to the unique needs of your organization.

And of course, once the policy is authored, you’ve got to make sure that employees fully understand the policy, what it requires of them as employees, what it requires of you as the employer, the reasons for those requirements, and the consequences for both sides of the policy not being observed. Initial education is key here, but it’s also important to have ongoing friendly reminders to make sure everyone stays on the same page.

You gotta keep ‘em separated

Mobile device management (MDM) software offers a lot of value to organizations that are looking to embrace BYOD, but for those organizations that are concerned about corporate data on devices owned by employees, MDM’s containerization capability is particularly powerful. A good MDM solution, such as the hosted or managed MDM offerings from Rogers, will include the ability to “containerize” corporate data from personal data on an employee-owned device. That way your employees can kick back and relax with the latest Angry Birds knock-off at home in the evening without you having to worry about malware getting access to the crown jewels of your company.

Containerization software also offers peace of mind should an employee-owned device be lost in action, or should the owner of said device leave your organization. With containerization installed, should a device – or its owner – walk out of your workplace for good, you can quickly and easily get rid of all your corporate information on the offending device, without impacting the personal information, apps, or data on it.

With the right policy in place and the right tools maintaining and enforcing that policy, the idea of co-mingling personal and enterprise data on any device, be it employee-owned or company-owned but personally enabled, doesn’t need to be risky. You can make sure your organization’s assets are protected, while still giving employees the satisfaction of being able to manage their affairs, from managing customer relationships to setting a new high score at Candy Crush, on the same device.


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