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The BYOD Balancing Act

The time has come when BYOD is no longer on the horizon, it is here.

According to Ovum's 2014 Employee Mobility Survey, the overall rate of BYOD adoption is up from 56.8 percent in 2013 to 69.2 percent in 2014, a significant increase.

This behaviour is a fact of life for organisations everywhere, "happening whether they like it or not."

Three broad areas paint a clear picture in support of BYOD.

Firstly, there are the benefits to the organisation. Research indicates those organisations who implement BYOD can realise individual employee productivity gains of 37 minutes a day. That doesn't sound like much, but across a workforce, that can really add up.

Then there's the benefit for the employee. More than 60 per cent of employees using a personal device for work and play would prefer to use a single device, while 56 per cent cited a work allocated device as a benefit of the job. This highlights the significant opportunity to implement BYOD for non mobility fleet staff.

Finally, organisations that do not embrace BYOD may do so at their peril. 46.8 percent of employees use their own smartphone for work; around 30 percent of those employees do so directly against a stated corporate policy; and only 27.9 per cent of them have signed a policy governing the use of that device at work.

Let's think about what this means. Employee personal data is intermingled with corporate data. Hackers can access sensitive corporate information. Internal corporate sites can be exposed to malicious malware. Files can be accessed from personal email accounts and apps resulting in data leakage. Lost and misplaced phones create another gateway for malicious attacks on corporate networks.

This last point about the risk is very real. Let me assure you, if you aren't enabling your employees, they will be doing it themselves. Take for example, employees using Whatsapp to send each other sensitive corporate information.

So yes, employees will use their personal devices for work and if you don't properly enable them, you will expose your corporate data to risk, and do your employees a disservice.

The question becomes, how do you strike the BYOD balance?

I see corporate liable and BYOD strategies as complementary. If BYOD is implemented to enable your employees to be more flexible and productive, then surely it makes sense to consider the needs of the employee and the business when creating the right mobility policy, for the right people.

At Telstra, we have embarked on the BYOD journey with the same gusto we have embraced flexible working and Future Ways of Working. The introduction of BYOD has secured our data and improved employee productivity and satisfaction.

That said, BYOD isn't for everyone and you don't have to go the whole hog. Telstra continues to provide our customer facing and field employees with a corporate funded device. Corporate liability remains the best option for hyper connected employees - who work from multiple locations with multiple devices and apps and who need to access and share data.

BYOD should clearly form part of an Enterprise Mobility Strategy, but it can be tough. The team at Telstra would be happy to talk to you about our challenges, experiences and learnings. The key is to plan and to take your stakeholders on the journey. A little investment in planning and governance can go a long way to creating positive outcomes for the business, the employee and your customers.

Read more on how to define and implement a corporate mobility strategy that finds balance between the needs of the employees and the security concerns of the business.

For more mobility go to Telstra Exchange.

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