Could BYOD Work for your Enterprise?

With constant advancements in mobility and cloud the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology strategy is not only for Startups anymore. According to Gartner, more than 60% of employees use a personal device for work including smartphones and tablets. When it comes to assessing the benefits and risks to a BYOD strategy there are still fairly mixed reviews. There are just as many reasons to switch to BYOD as there are to not make the switch. Here are a few things to consider when creating a BYOD strategy for your enterprise.

Costs Savings

The first and most talked about advantage of BYOD is the cost savings. Taking this route allows enterprises to phase out capital spending on hardware that will no doubt require upgrading in a few years time. The majority of employees are bringing mobile devices to the office already and are most comfortable with the device of their choosing so this can be a great advantage in saving costs on large amounts of unnecessary hardware.  

Mobile Device Management Software

For IT teams, the task of managing policy, inventory and security is becoming apparent. This is where Mobile Device Management Software (MDM) comes in. MDM allows IT teams to monitor, manage and secure employees’ devices across multiple service providers and operating systems within your enterprise. Most MDM software includes end-to-end security, which allows your enterprise’s IT team to fully manage the mobile apps, network and data used on the variety of mobile devices. Some MDM solutions also include mobile security and expense management. With the right MDM software you can reduce the security challenges that are prominent when switching to BYOD.

Security Challenges

Managing security is arguably the most complicated challenge in implementing a BYOD strategy. With the variety of devices, operating systems and mix of product versions your security policy will need to find ways to ensure everything is secured. There are a number of concerns related to security that your enterprise’s IT team will be managing including lost or stolen devices, mobile threats or internal security breaches. Before implementing a BYOD strategy conducting a full risk assessment can help your enterprise to understand where the greatest risks are and what the related cost will be.

Implementation

Before implementing your BYOD strategy there are two important aspects to consider that can have a great affect on employee adoption and overall BYOD success. First, it is important to set out the guidelines for cost sharing to avoid any misunderstanding around who is paying for what. Here you need to consider who pays for devices, service plans, software or accessories. There are a variety of structures that can be used for this. For enterprises that require precise accounting there is software available that can monitor usage and cost differentiating between personal and business use. Other cost sharing strategies can be as simple as a monthly subsidy based on a fixed fee or percentage of monthly service plans.

Finally, when setting out to start your BYOD strategy finding a set of guidelines and policies that will work for your enterprise could be the key to success. Here you will want to set out guidelines around what your enterprise considers acceptable use for business versus personal. Some policies can get as detailed as to which apps are allowed or disabling camera and video camera use while on-site. You may want to consider which devices and what type of support your enterprise’s IT team will cover. Opening your policy to any type of device could create more costs and challenges for your IT team. Also important to include are the risks, liabilities and any disclaimers that would be relevant to your enterprise. To consider here would be precautions with lost or stolen devices, personal data loss, regular backing up, ethical use and legal issues if an employee or your enterprise become involved in a lawsuit which data would be required from a device.

Although there is a lot to consider in taking on a BYOD strategy for your company, the pay off can end up being worth it. It can create a competitive advantage and increase employee satisfaction allowing employees to feel more comfortable and empowered with the technology they are using. Adopting a BYOD strategy now can also allow for ease of IT evolution as we move increasingly towards mobile and cloud technologies.

Optimus Information provides both mobile and cloud strategy services and can assist with the implementation of MDM software. For information on how our team can help your enterprise contact us today.

iOS App Deployment Options

Clients often ask ‘how can I deploy my app internally so just our staff sees it?’ Or ‘how can we sell our app to other companies without listing on the App Store?’ This article explains the different iOS app deployment options and pros/cons of each.

There are basically three ways to deploy your application. Either it goes into the public App Store where everyone can see it, a B2B deployment, or an Enterprise deployment where it is only available to your internal staff.

Option 1: Public App Store

The App Store is the huge marketplace for apps that we’ve all grown familiar with. As of this writing, there are over 1 million apps in the App Store. This is where we download all the major publicly available apps from Salesforce to Angry Birds. Every iOS user has access to the App Store and has their credit card setup with their iTunes account.

Pros

  1. Exposure to largest user base
  2. Opportunity to be ‘Featured’ or in the top rankings

Cons

  1. Competing against 1 million+ other apps
  2. Goes through Apple’s approval process prior to each release
  3. Can only filter user groups by OS version and country

Option 2: B2B Deployment

B2B deployment is where you can sell your app directly to businesses by registering their Apple IDs or providing them with redemption codes. B2B apps cannot be listed in the App Store (and vice versa) so it’s one or the other. There are opportunities to make different versions with different functionality, but B2B apps go through the same approval process as regular App Store apps.

Apps distributed via B2B have the same pricing model as the public App Store meaning they can be priced anywhere from free to $999.99. They are also created using the same Apple Developer account that is used for App Store deployment.

Pros

  1. Easy distribution directly to specific users via Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plans for Business or Education
  2. Ability to heavily customize the app for specific organizations beyond what would be suitable in the public App Store

Cons

  1. Goes through Apple’s approval process prior to each release
  2. Restricted to using public APIs and functionality

Option 3: Enterprise Deployment

If you’re looking to launch an app that is explicitly for your employees then Enterprise Deployment is ideal. This allows you to create a completely custom app that doesn’t have to go through Apple’s approval process. This means you don’t have to worry about their policies and can push the limits of your app beyond what is suitable for the public app store.

Pros

  1. Doesn’t go through Apple’s approval process meaning there are no delays and you aren’t limited to typical policies
  2. Can distribute the app internally without first registering devices
  3. Utilize advanced enterprise features for enhanced encryption, VPN, and MDM integration

Cons

  1. No exposure to users outside of your organization
  2. Requires an Apple Enterprise Developer account to publish apps internally

(image credit: florianplag)