The pros and cons of BYOD are well documented, but regardless of its merits, it is making an impact in the IT industry and in many offices around the world. Nearly three quarters of businesses are implementing or planning to adopt BYOD, which represents somewhat of a transformation of the modern workplace.
With this trend set to continue in the foreseeable future, the important question is: what will this mean for you and your MSP business?
Adopting a BYOD Policy
From the outset, it is clear that BYOD can potentially revolutionize IT within your office. However, it will also have much wider implications on your business and your workforce, which means that it needs to be carefully monitored and managed. You need to set BYOD guidelines, which should be implemented right from the outset, helping to control usage, manage productivity and monitor security.
With this new trend, it’s important not to gloss over the crucial role IT departments and service providers will play in managing BYOD and mobile demands. Moving forward, these teams will be charged with making sure BYOD runs smoothly, so that employees can continue to work efficiently and productively. Here are some of the key areas IT teams will need to focus on:
After policies have been put into place, one of the key roles of IT departments will be to make sure that there is sufficient training for staff, helping to ensure they adjust properly and effectively to BYOD policies and practices. Not sure what to include in BYOD training? Make sure you hit the following areas:
- Collaboration - Due to the increased flexibility and the potential to work from anywhere in the world, users should be trained on how to collaborate efficiently with co-workers using their devices and cloud-based applications. This will help to prevent the feeling of isolation and enable productive team-work even if people are in separate locations.
- Time Management - Because devices belong to the employees, they'll likely be accessed for both personal use and work purposes. Therefore, training should be provided to show users how to avoid doing personal tasks at work, as well as how to avoid overworking at home.
- Passwords – Because IT teams will find even more devices connecting to their network, which will be used for not only work, but also personal use, companies should provide training to show users how to create quality passwords. Training should also cover methods to keep passwords and important information secure at all times.
- Personal vs. Work – To create a separation between work and personal use, IT teams should show users how to keep personal and professional apps and activities separate, to make sure there is a good work/life balance.
- Online vs. Offline – With the ubiquity of new technology, users may find it difficult to strike the right balance between online and offline work, especially when it comes to collaboration during meetings. During training sessions, IT managers can talk through the various options and discuss which is best for different situations.
- Legality – Since there will be many different legal and ethical issues for employees and employers, it is essential that this topic is covered within training. This also provides an opportunity to answer any questions employees may have concerning employers' rights to access their devices or monitor their activities.
As well as training, IT teams also need to focus on maintaining security across devices. With BYOD, this can become a little tricky. Because users can have multiple devices, which they can use anywhere in the world at any time and for personal use as well as work, this is a potential security minefield for IT departments. If this is not something a single in-house team can manage on its own, then a specialist IT consultancy should be able to advise on the best approach to secure mobile device management (MDM).
3. Application Management
With so many SaaS applications available to businesses, IT departments will need to discern the most appropriate solutions for the company’s requirements, capabilities and budget. Research, selection, integration and implementation of the right software tools will only become tasks more necessary to perform in the BYOD era.
4. User Experience
IT teams will increasingly need to consider user experience design for mobile devices, as this can help to enhance productivity at work by through slicker interfaces and a more integrated set of enterprise tools for workers. This is especially the case when it comes to intranet and company portals which are accessible on multiple devices, as well as the integration of various software tools and sources of data.
5. Multi-Platform Troubleshooting
Naturally, IT teams will be available to help with troubleshooting questions. However, unlike previously, where they needed to provide support for one brand of computer, with one operating system and an agreed set of software, IT teams will now be required to deal with a vast range of devices, operating systems and applications.
BYOD is a popular strategy, and many users are already jumping on the bandwagon. However, BYOD is complex and cannot be introduced without thoroughly planning how it will work within the organization. For example, employees need to be properly trained to ensure that they are using their technology effectively, for maximum productivity and their own well being. IT teams will face new challenges and new requirements, as they carefully guide their users towards more flexible and mobile IT setups.
Are you facing any of these challenges now? How are you managing BYOD in the office? Comment below!
Are you offering MDM as part of your managed IT services?
By Meaghan Moraes
By George Anderson
By Gretchen Hoffman