Where do Businesses Stand with BYOD and Privacy?

If employees are using their own devices at work, how can CIOs ensure privacy?

BYOD PrivacyBring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been making its case in businesses for years and years. The benefit of a familiar device and not having to purchase a work mobile has been drummed into IT strategies for some time now and adoption is on the rise. For some employees, such as millennials, it is a completely alien concept to be offered a secondary device when you have a perfectly good one (or two or three or four) already at your disposal.

Security

The BYOD rise indicates a great sensibility within IT teams. Thinking back all to all those extra laptops and mobiles that just sat in the bottom drawer of the office, it was a no brainer for procurement.

The security element has always been a worry. What if the user gets a virus on their personal laptop? What if they delete the hosting application? As cloud technology has moved on and become more secure, these worries are becoming less and less worrying.

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Most people access their private work documents over public Internet in coffee shops and train WiFi via their work laptops. Personal devices don’t make this a less secure process. The workforce has come to learn that the internet isn’t quite as scary as it was once thought if you have the right infrastructure in place. Documents and data are secure if saved on SharePoint or G Suite, so IT can rest easy knowing their aren’t going to suffer a data breach when the new sales person uses their mobile to edit their PowerPoint en route to a meeting.

Privacy

The rise also indicates a great sense of trust in personnel. The use of personal devices opens up the prospect of documents being shared over non-trusted apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. The last thing you need as an IT Security Manager is one of your company documents getting into the wrong hands.

So, rather than the emphasis being on security, CIOs have put a lot of trust in the people they employ. The theme of trust in the workplace has been trending recently. CIPHR’s recent blog suggests that trusted and flexible workers are more productive, more confident and become brand advocates.

Remote Working

The age-old argument is that if you trust someone enough to employ them, you should trust them to get their job done. This covers a broad scope of items, but the key enabler is flexible working.

Most companies have implemented some form of flexible working by 2018. With the increase of home working and remote working, employees are no longer tied to a desk. The concept of having two laptops and mobiles whilst working from your living room is bizarre but was commonplace in businesses only a few years ago. Today, if you have a smartphone, why would you need another one?

Praful Shah, CSO at RingCentral, said in a UC Today podcast:

“The solutions need to be smartphone-centric. The users have already left. The users are communicating in different ways”

Praful was commenting on the shift from Unified Communications being viewed as a PBX replacement to a powerful collaboration enabler.

Shadow UC

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Shadow UC users?

We know Shadow IT as tech that is used inside organisations without explicit approval. But IT have become fully accustomed to this now and the use of smartphones and devices in the workplace is constant. Smart watches, for example, are a completely different animal to shadow IT of yesteryear.

Shadow UC, on the other hand, is another challenge. Everybody wants to use their preferred form of communication. This makes the challenge an interesting one that is proactive for businesses. If groups or individuals recognise their preferred method as the best option, IT must listen and adapt.

Millennials are more likely to take a video call on their tablet than baby boomers. This stems from technology advances leading to a culture of FaceTime and Snapchat. Seasoned telesales workers will prefer a deskphone, but the new sales trainees will be used to a headset or their smartphone to take calls. IT departments need to be flexible in their approach to new starters to accommodate their needs and preferences. If a task can be carried out effectively in the user’s preferred method, why would you give them something less productive?

Business Application Agility

No business is the same, and no business is the same over time. CIOs must consider how agile their technology is when purchasing, renewing or upgrading. This isn’t exclusive to Unified Comms, but the principle is extremely relevant here.

If your communications infrastructure doesn’t support tablets as the preferred device or you can’t flip a call from the deskphone to a mobile, then you risk falling behind in key areas. By now, it’s common knowledge the productivity gains associated with cloud communications.

The Job Interview

Let’s use the example of a job interview. You’ve gone through the motions, asked probing questions and you let the candidate play the role of interviewer. What happens if they ask about what devices and applications they will be using at your company?

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To attract the best talent, you don’t need the best technology. Sure, it may help, but it’s not a pre-requisite. To attract the best talent, you do need to show that your approach and your technology is flexible. The best answer in this scenario is for the candidate to feel they are trusted to use the devices and applications of their choosing, because you are an agile company that embraces BYOD.

Can you imagine the despair of your CIO if the perfect candidate, that you’ve been chasing for months, turns down your job offer because your phone system doesn’t enable collaboration via smartphone? If the job can be completed quicker and in a better-quality manner at another company, the perfect candidate has a simple decision to make.

BYOD isn’t just key, it’s king. Privacy is no longer an excuse, so what’s yours?

 

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Dominic Kent

Written by Dominic Kent

Hi, I’m Dominic. I’m a Technology Consultant specialising in UC and Contact Centre. I’m an advocate for cloud technology and the benefits it brings.
In my spare time I run whatmillennialswant.co.uk from my garden office and get chased by my dogs on Weymouth beach.