Many companies are trying to understand what steps are needed for a successful implementation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Most discussions focus on technical issues, such as how to identify offending devices, how to keep them off the network, or how to limit the types of devices. But nobody is talking about the human element in BYOD.
BYOD upends some of the traditional dynamics between employees and their companies, and both parties need to be willing to adapt. When the company owns the device, they dictate how it will be configured and used. When the employee owns the device, they configure it for their own needs and priorities, which may be wildly different than the corporate standard. This sets up all sorts of potential conflicts when employees want to use their personal devices to access corporate applications.
“When the employee owns the device, they configure it for their own needs and priorities, which may be wildly different than the corporate standard.”
– Frank Andrus, co-founder and CTO, Bradford Networks
The best way to ensure a productive and safe BYOD environment is to include employees in the discussion and make them co-owners of a BYOD policy. If the network access policy is at odds with what people want, they'll look for ways to get around it, and that's bad for productivity – which is what you're trying to achieve with BYOD in the first place.
IT departments shouldn't simply dictate which devices employees are required to use – yet that is what often happens today. Instead of focusing on how to keep people out, the starting point should be: Which devices do people want to use, how do they want to use them, and how can we safely make it happen?
For a truly successful implementation, include your employees, get them involved in creating the access policy, and make it their own. And since the policy will be enforced, you want the people affected by it to embrace it – or at least be able to live with it. With an informed access policy and the technology to implement it, you'll be able to strike the right balance: making employees more productive, while ensuring the organization's applications and data are safe.