Apps management neglected in BYOD schemes: Expert

Having a BYOD program is good and all, but many companies fail to manage what apps employees are downloading on their mobile devices, according to Digital Sydney director Karen Scott Davie.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

A large number of organisations that have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program are doing a poor job of managing the apps that employees put on those devices, according to Digital Sydney director Karen Scott Davie.

She was also previously the CIO of the NSW Business Chamber and believes that not all organisations are compatible with BYOD programs. Those companies that are well-suited to it will find that BYOD can drive employee satisfaction as well as innovation, she said.

But Scott Davie estimated that more than half of Australian employees access websites or download applications that are not supported by their companies. Some could be doing so for work purposes, such as using Dropbox to share files, while others may be downloading gaming apps for fun. Some may even be creating their own apps for work purposes.

"People are saving things all over the place," Scott Davie said at the Informa BYOD: 2012 conference in Sydney. "At least half of businesses aren't managing the apps that are on these mobile devices."

These apps can pose risks to data security, but banning unauthorised apps, she said, isn't a good option as it may backfire on the company.

"Don't ban Angry Birds — don't ban the apps your employees actually like, or they'll stop using the device, or there would be an outrage," Scott Davie said. "There are 690,000 gaming apps out of every million in the apps industry, and you can't ban all of them."

"They'll just find another app anyway, and trust me, we've tried."

CIOs that want to be in the driver's seat of an effective BYOD scheme should educate their workers, rather than put a blanket ban on apps that cannot be used on devices connected to the corporate network.

Scott Davie recommended CIOs to draw up suggestions of apps that would work for the enterprise and make recommendations to staff.

"Whether it's finance systems, CRM systems, so many different apps are available on the cloud," she said.

"If you can actually drive what apps employees use, that gives you better options and better control."

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