Mobile computing has turned the world of enterprise technology upside down. The trend towards smartphones and tablets means employees want to have a device they're familiar with - something they already use at home. But Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) comes with its own challenges, including security and the complicated question of who's responsible for the mix of personal and corporate data kept on the machine.
Some organisations have started to walk the middle ground between BYOD and the unpopular option of simply giving a staffer a device they may not like. It’s called Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), and offers a sensible compromise between a free-for-all and the old-style corporate-approved device.
Offering choice – but not too much
With CYOD, an employer, together with their IT department, can certify a range of devices meeting business standards, such as interoperability with corporate applications and email. The business might offer a selection of several smartphones and a range of tablet computers to the staff, who are then able to decide which one meets their needs (and personal familiarity).
Supporting a limited range of devices cancels out the headaches IT departments have with BYOD, including lack of compatibility and lax security. They can also use an advanced MDM (Mobile Device Management) system to control what goes onto the device, and to wipe and lock the phone if it gets lost or stolen.
CYOD – the next generation
Forward thinking companies are moving beyond basic MDM packages towards what’s called containerisation to manage their CYOD fleets. With a containerisation solution, IT can have a list of approved business applications, as well as secure network connections to the corporate network installed on the device. It also allows the user to have their own data – phone numbers, media and music – on the phone or tablet. This containerisation strategy is the best of both worlds, because it still lets IT wipe the corporate information if the device is lost (or if the staffer leaves), while keeping the integrity of the user’s personal information intact.
Choosing a range of devices for employees comes down to corporate priority, but it’s best to stick with a handful of the most popular phones and tablets on the market, and work from there. A poll of staffers can also be a useful way of finding out what devices they’d like to choose from and which are less popular.
One thing’s certain; the BYOD genie is not going back in its bottle. But with sensible planning and an inclusive approach, CYOD can offer most of the benefits of bring you own devices without the security and manageability downsides.