Bring your own Device (BYOD) is the movement that has brought home and work life together in many ways. The benefits of having workers that can use their own mobile devices to perform company work are just too great to ignore. But are these workers actually more productive? Well, the answer is yes and no. In some cases, CIOs have actually incurred greater expenses and less worker productivity because of poor management and ineffective education on BYOD policies and practices. Poor management can result in a BYOD program that leaks company info, suffers security breaches and data losses, and runs up a bill far greater than a company-managed mobile device plan.
“The pressure on IT is intense,” says Aberdeen Group analyst Andrew Borg. “The implied threat is, ‘Give me what I know I can have, or I’ll self-provision.’”
Due to IT monitoring of private data, many employees are using two phones- one for private use and one for company use. But this is ineffective as well, and doesn’t increase the motivation for the worker to gain more productivity. The newer smartphone manufacturers are taking notice as well. The recently released Samsung Galaxy S4 has been implemented with Knox Security, which separates the phone into two sections– one for personal use and one for corporate use. This enables IT to monitor the section of the phone that is used for company work while allowing the employees to keep their personal usage private. This creates a more comfortable working atmosphere for the employee, which, in turn, results in increased productivity.
If the employee is forced to use 2 phones, most likely they will not carry around the company-designated phone after work hours. If they have their personal phone, it is much more likely to be turned on and nearby for easy accessibility. As Borg says, “They are also more likely to have their device with them at all times, not only during work hours, which means they are more accessible and in-touch.”
BYOD has a strong impact when your company is looking to recruit top employees. If they can use their own device to perform company work, they are more likely to be swayed, especially if they are currently working for another company that perhaps does not offer a solid BYOD program. A good BYOD program offers employees choices and options, so that they can travel the route that best suits them. But a satisfied employee does not always mean a more productive employee. Monitoring and frequent evaluation helps keep the CIO informed of the effectiveness of the BYOD program and what changes need to be made.
“Although the temptation is to measure specific processes and estimate the number of minutes shaved off routine activity, it’s advisable to look at process workflows that would otherwise have long bottlenecks without ubiquitous mobile access,” Borg says.
One great example of a BYOD program at work is hydraulics maker Eaton Corp. CIO Justin Kershaw analyzed BYOD worker productivity by monitoring the order intake rate and length of sales cycles. “That used to take days and weeks in the legacy process, and now we’re down to hours and minutes,” Kershaw says.
Cloud services for BYOD
There are numerous cloud services that are implemented in BYOD programs. Most are third-party apps that help perform a variety of services such as document creation and management, project management, note taking, file storage and sharing, and more. Some companies have even had developers create their own company apps so they will have complete control over the apps being used. But many workers want to user their own services, as well as their own devices. Some of the most popular services used for BYOD use are Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box among others.
- Evernote: Used for quickly taking notes, snapshots, screenshots or audio clips, tagging them with relevant keywords and storing them for easy searching. It’s also used to create checklists and to-do lists. This is perfect for remote workers that need to collect data, research or create lists in a hurry. It also makes it very easy and efficient to organize project files into one area and still be able to keep them all organized.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is like a huge filing cabinet without all the clunkiness and slow searching. Dropbox has no file size limit so files of any size can be stored and shared quickly and easily. Any large presentations, video or audio files, or other files that are too large to share by email can be simply dropped into a shared folder and will instantly appear on the recipient’s computer
- Google Drive: Google Drive can be used for a variety of BYOD actions including creating documents, revising documents, sharing documents, storing documents, collaboration and more. Documents can be created in Google Drive, collaborated on by multiple (up to 50) users revising it simultaneously, stored for later accessibility or shared using Google Drive or a special link for non-Google users.
- Box: Box is similar to Dropbox, although it does have file size limits. Both Box and Dropbox have similar file structures and both use high-grade SSL encryption on transit and 256-bit AES encryption for storage. Mobile apps for BYOD use allow users to use the service from any location with internet access. Offline work can be performed as well, then once the user travels to an area with internet access the app will sync with the online servers.
Are there risks with BYOD?
As with all new technology, there are some risks. Workers are only human after all, and prone to human error. This is something that the best technology in the world has been unable to conquer yet. There are possibilities of security protocols being accidentally overlooked or ignored; the possibility of devices being left unattended where they can be accessed, stolen or lost; security authentication values that are created for convenience, instead of strength; and much more.
The great thing about using BYOD is that most of the data is stored on a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc. So even if a device is lost or stolen, the data should still be recoverable from the cloud storage. But even that’s not good enough sometimes.
- If a device is lost or stolen, and is found by someone who is able to access the data stored on the phone, they may be able to access the cloud storage account using credentials from the device.
- If an employee is disciplined or fired, and his authentication for the cloud account is not revoked quickly enough, he could access the account and delete data in revenge.
- If security protocols are accidentally or purposely overlooked, data leakage could occur, which could result in attackers gaining authentication for cloud accounts.
The solution to completely eliminate any chance of data loss is to implement a solid cloud backup plan, such as those that cloudHQ provides. This makes cloudHQ the protector and integrator of all your cloud services – which are critical for BYOD.
A cloud backup account from cloudHQ is a backup account on a separate cloud service with completely different authentication than any other company accounts. The authentication should only be given to a very few trusted officers, perhaps only the CIO. This ensures that the backup account is safe and secured in case anything happens to the main cloud account and data loss were to occur.
The cloudHQ service runs in the background, completely invisible and unobtrusive to the worker. When the cloudHQ account is set up, the user has the option to back up all files or only specific files and folders. Once it is set up, the cloudHQ service runs automatically and continuously as it replicates new files and changes to existing files in real-time. There are no manual backups, no daily, weekly or monthly time limits- cloudHQ backs up files on the spot.
As cloudHQ’s motto states- don’t put all your eggs in one basket. By the time you realize that you “should have” had a backup plan in place, it will be too late. Many cases of data loss are unrecoverable and this risk is heightened by the BYOD program. But CIOs should not be scared to implement a BYOD program, they just need to be aware of the risks and solutions to potential problems. CloudHQ is the solution.