BYOD epidemic spreads to unexpected areas

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70 per cent of users carry three or more devices; with 67 per cent of those using their own personal devices for work. Gartner predicts that 70 per cent of mobile professionals will complete their work on personal smart devices by 2018. So what does that mean for businesses?

We speak with Brian Stutter of Wasp Barcode Technologies on adoption of (bring you own device) BYOD effects more than just the corporate workforce and how BYOD as an epidemic is spreading to unexpected areas.

Techie News: BYOD is increasingly becoming a global phenomenon. What challenges do enterprises face?

Brian Sutter: The first challenge is whether to allow employees to use their own devices for work or not, and, if it’s allowed, to what extent. Often the decision centers on cost of the device and voice/data plans. Once the decision is made, writing a mobile device policy and then enforcing it can seem daunting.

Additionally, a company’s IT department must decide the level of support they’re willing to offer employees especially when considering the variety of devices owned and used by staff. Of course, the most significant challenge facing every enterprise revolves around securing those devices and the data contain.

TN: How does BYOD affect the security posture of enterprises?

BS: Devices that “leave the building” – phones, tablets, laptops – make companies vulnerable. By the very nature of it leaving, that device is no longer within the explicit control of the employer. Lost or stolen devices with customer or client data leave companies vulnerable to litigation.

Employees can and will act irresponsibly: not setting passwords, installing vulnerable apps, or downloading malware, and all of these leave company data accessible.

Additionally, companies that do not clearly state the data employees are allowed to access from outside of the corporate network place those decisions within the hands of employees who just want to complete their work without concern about proper authorization or about securing corporate and client data.

TN: How can mobile device management (MDM) and similar solutions help out?

BS: BYOD programs have made the problem of not having a MDM more acute as most users are selecting a platform such as iOS and Android that were not designed for the enterprise in mind.

With IT managers not having a way to provide risk management by hand, utilizing a MDM platform is the only way to protect an enterprise from a possible data breach.

MDM platforms allow enterprises to manage the BYOD policy developed by the management team. Utilizing an MDM platform provides the IT and CXO peace of mind because they can enforce some of the following: pin/password usage, remote device wipe, data encryption, and data loss prevention.

TN: What are your thoughts on BYOD and productivity solutions?

BS: Technology continues to revolutionize the way companies do business. Nowhere is this seen more than in the devices used by employees to complete their work. 70% of users carry three or more devices; with 67% of those using their own personal devices for work.

It’s been projected by the research firm, Gartner, that 70% of mobile professionals will complete their work on personal smart devices by 2018.

Users expect to merge both personal and business calls and data to a single device. 78% of employees believe that having a single mobile device helps balance their work and personal lives, and the advances in mobile technology are making that expectation very real.

Companies that ignore or fail to provide their employees with the means to use their own devices for some work tasks, like answering email, are ignoring the potential benefits of a mobile workforce.

The option of downloading an app to a personal device that gives users the ability to complete work tasks using software traditionally accessed on a PC means those employees can address work responsibilities when needed.

Asking them to set aside technology to which they’ve become accustomed, is asking them to spend excessive amounts of time documenting information. All of that time means wasted effort – especially when there are options available for improving the process as a whole.

According to the CDW 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, 94% of the mobile device users polled, say using a mobile device for work tasks has made them more efficient.

TN: What are your thoughts on Box and Dropbox and the possibility of these services taking over enterprises?

BS: According to Gartner, 300 million DropBox users have brought the application into 4 million businesses. Initially a consumer product, DropBox has blurred the line between the personal and the work “cloud space.” Users have found the product extremely easy-to-use and, because of familiarity with the product, it’s no wonder the application has been downloaded to company PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones for file sharing between all devices.

Yes, the product is simple, familiar to employees, and makes work easier; however, there are significant security risks for enterprises.

DropBox is outside of IT’s purview; which means no control of company documents stored in an employee’s personal cloud. Alternatively, Box—an enterprise file sharing application—provides users with an experience similar to DropBox while ensuring a company’s security needs are met. Box currently has more than 25 million registered users and more than 34,000 paying clients.

Looking at the number of DropBox and Box users shows the popularity of cloud-based, file sharing services. Within the scope of BYOD, it is feasible to assume these types of applications are currently used by enterprise employees.

TN: Enlighten us about the solutions provided by Wasp Barcode Technologies?

BS: Wasp Barcode Technologies provides a suite of solutions that solve many of the most common business headaches. Wasp’s solutions are driven to provide asset, inventory, package tracking, and time & attendance systems that are reasonably priced, easily implemented, and ready-to-use right after installation.

Wasp understands the importance of providing solutions that are affordable for all of these applications, and we supply these in addition to offering our customers free, Getting Started training and free, US-based technical support.

TN: Let us know about your product roadmap

BS: Wasp just released our newest version of MobileAsset that increases usability with the iOS and Android functionally. With the new release, IT departments allow more control to be distributed to users; thereby, increasing system adoption within other departments without compromising data integrity.

Wasp Barcode’s asset management platform allow companies to keep control of expenses with the ability to track, locate, and identify all of their company’s assets. With companies utilizing Excel, ERP, or MDM software packages for their management needs, they are capturing useful data.

Wasp MobileAsset allows you to have a full lifecycle management process with those assets. The system uses your LDAP integration to provide user validation to increase security and to decrease the need of IT’s time generating user password and group management.

Our new iOS and Android apps (that can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play) give users the capability of adding an asset, capturing performed maintenance, executing audits, and documenting disposals of all assets. MobileAsset’s new customizable dashboard provides management the standard BI tools for reviewing and managing company data.