The primary driver for adoption of mobile devices are employees who prefer to use private consumer devices (smartphones, tablets, notebooks) for business. The first step is to accept employee-owned devices and acknowledge that you will have to support multiple mobile devices and operating systems.
The goal is to isolate organization assets from employee-owned devices while providing robust, scalable, and secure remote access to those assets.
As a result, organization policy and support for applications on employee-owned devices is crucial. The trick is to empower your employees mobile device of their choice to connect to their desktop applications and your network resources while minimizing the impact on IT and maintaining security policy.
Organizations that do not support personal devices and fail to set and enforce policies will experience security exposures. Unfortunately, the tools provided by the smartphone and tablet vendors are extremely effective at circumventing current IT security and use policies.
Thus, it is prudent to set and enforce new IT security and use policies through a "mobile framework" using new management tools and capabilities. The mobile workforce requires a shift in IT application and data delivery: IT and business applications need to be available anywhere with an Internet connection. This shift, in conjunction with employee-owned devices, makes the traditional locked-down approach to desktop management challenging.
Strategic planning to execute the Employee-Owned Device Program (also referred to as "BYO", “BYOC” and “Bring Your Own Computer”) requires an objective assessment of policy and technology. To meet organization "mobile workforce" objectives may require investing in new technology like Mobile Device Management software.
A recent Gartner report, "Checklist for an Employee-Owned Notebook or PC Program," focuses on security, ownership, and control issues. The report has suggestions to isolate organization assets from employee-owned devices while providing robust, scalable, and secure remote access to those assets. Establishing a third-party maintenance and support option and defining the scope of IT support are also critical.
It is prudent to address the following checklist items before enacting an Employee-Owned Device Program:
- Provide robust, scalable and secure access to company data
- Isolate company digital assets
- Determine PC hardware, software and bandwith requirements
- Clarify software terms and conditions
- Establish a third-party maintenance and support option
- Define scope of IT support responsibilities
- Determine financial ramifications
- Ensure there are no counter-indicators
- Identify workers who will support and benefit from the program
- Develop appropriate policies
- Develop a communication plan
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