By now, BYOD is less an uncertainty and more a given in many enterprise environments. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents to a December 2013 InformationWeek survey indicated that they either already support BYOD or are working on BYOD policies. But while BYOD can often simplify employees' workflows and improve their job satisfaction, improperly implemented BYOD programs can vastly complicate the IT department's life. Be prepared to hear the same BYOD questions asked over and over again, and have your answers ready.
1. Do we have to adopt BYOD?
The short answer to this most basic of BYOD questions is, most likely, yes. "Banning personal device use is largely unrealistic in today's day and age and may actually hinder productivity and collaboration advantages," reducing an organization's competitiveness, as eWeek's Chris Preimesberger observed. Younger or more tech-savvy employees especially may consider BYOD a must in order to function at their full potential.
2. What if an employee device gets lost or stolen?
What to do if a device is lost or stolen continually ranks at the top of lists of BYOD questions. When employees lose personal devices that store, or have access to, corporate data, more than the employees' own interests are at stake. Data leakage and its consequences are very real concerns. Luckily, many mobile device management solutions exist with the capability to remotely wipe or disable a device in the event of loss or theft.
3. How do we protect corporate data from inappropriate use?
Along with BYOD comes the problem of shadow IT: employees circumventing corporate policy to adopt convenient (but maybe less secure) cloud services and applications to handle their data. BYOD also brings a greater risk of employees sharing data in ways they shouldn't. This is one of the more serious BYOD questions. To answer it, reference the many robust Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and data access control and monitoring solutions available on the market.
4. How do we segregate corporate data from personal data?
Common sense dictates that people keep their professional and personal lives separate: don't mix work with pleasure, the old adage goes. The same should hold true when it comes to corporate and personal data. Among the many common BYOD questions you'll hear, this one has some of the most interesting answers. Newer technologies like virtual machines and application sandboxing can help, as can some agented Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions.
5. What about multiple devices? Won't it be overwhelming to have to manage them all?
The last of our common BYOD questions tackles the problems that may arise when the BYOD floodgates open and the devices pour in. It's not uncommon for individuals to have more than one mobile device—in addition to the smartphone, there's the tablet, the e-reader, and the personal laptop, for example—and employees may want to use all of those devices for work. User-centric, profile-based access control solutions may be able to minimize the management nightmare more than device-centered approaches.
As you work to enter the BYOD support and infrastructure market, you'll find that CIOs, CISOs, and IT decision-makers will want solid answers to these BYOD questions. The better you can answer these questions, the more likely you will be to close the sale.
Do you have BYOD questions of your own? Take advantage of the training, support, conferences, and community resources Ingram Micro offers to get up to speed. And if you've found other answers to these common concerns, let us know in the comments.