By Jeremy Nash, Business Unit Manager at Centerprise International
By definition, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the use of a personal device in the work environment and particularly its use to access the enterprise. The concept becomes blurred when personal devices do not form part of the enterprise but are used for work related tasks. Consumers of technology are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile devices to assist them in their daily lives and are seeking to introduce their ‘highly connected’ state into their working lives. The challenge of maintaining security when creating access for personal devices is now being addressed by commercial organisations as the consequence of not doing so is a dilution of a company’s ability to maintain control over its information.
The increasing level of personal interaction with ever-present mobile devices is only set to continue with the proliferation of context aware applications and the expanding range of device types and form factors. The inconvenience of carrying and managing multiple devices of a similar type will enhance the desire of employees to converge work and personal devices. This is evidenced in the commercial world by the majority of companies now choosing to support BYOD at some level.
BYOD implementations within the private sector vary from the basic use of personal phones through to full integration of a suite of devices with wide ranging access to the enterprise. The latter has been made possible through the evolving technologies of virtualisation and multi-tiered security, which enable personal and work activities to be compartmentalised on a single device. Such technologies, together with the development of Enterprise Mobile Management capabilities enable appropriate levels of device governance, whilst affording access to enterprise commodities such as office automation tools, collaborative working environments and business applications. These technologies have matured to a point where organisations are now in a position to enable, and enjoy the benefits of, a highly connected workforce.
So is it possible to introduce BYOD in the public sector to the same extent as has been embraced within the private sector? The answer is yes but the route for doing so is likely to be progressive, starting with Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). This is where the enterprise supports a limited device selection (potentially on a single mobile operating system). This would enable a degree of convergence by offering controlled access to a range of enterprise services. Both user experience and choice could be expanded over time by extending the operating systems and range of devices supported. The transition from CYOD to BYOD would probably be the function of a risk balance decision that considers the business and operational drivers against and the appetite to embrace advances in technology that could mitigate the perceived security risks with allowing a device of unknown provenance (and potentially limited end point security) to connect to the enterprise. Irrespective of where the line is drawn between CYOD and BYOD there is much to be gained within the public sector by creating appropriate and managed ways for the employee to have access to devices that meet personal and professional needs.
Centerprise International has joined the limited number of ICT suppliers who offer a secure mobile device management (MDM) solution suitable for use in secure environments such as public and finance sectors. Centerprise’s Cloud-based iOS solution offers an extensible solution that can be deployed rapidly across an organisation’s Apple estate, ensuring its employee’s benefit from the efficiencies of mobility whilst suitably protecting the organisation’s information.