BYOD: Ready or Not, It's Here.

Whether your company has embraced the “Bring your own device” (BYOD) trend within the workplace or not, it’s probably impacting your business in a tangible way. A recent Sophos Ltd. study found that the average user carries around 2.9 devices. What’s more, those devices are blended into our lifestyle. Whether your company is ready to embrace BYOD for business functions or not, employees are still going to have mobile devices and will want to use them. Fighting the trend completely is nothing more than an exercise in futility. A proactive approach to BYOD is best to avoid the litany of potential issues.

 

Taming the Wild West

 

Having everyone running amuck with their own devices can seem like a dangerous free-for-all. However, with a good plan of action and clear view of your surroundings you can easily tame the beast. Having a BYOD policy is a necessary first step. Whether employees are using company issued devices or not, defining acceptable behavior and practices is a must to avoid issues down the road. For more on how you can develop a tailored BYOD policy, check out our recent blog post here.

 

The major point of contention lies in the fact that mobility has blurred the line between work and play even more. Employees often expect to be able to access social media and respond to personal messages whether they are on the clock or not. If those tasks don’t hold business value for you, plan accordingly. Just don’t expect employees in their twenties to forget about Facebook for eight hours a day. Be realistic and communicate expectations clearly.

 

Once you have a plan in place, visibility into what is really happening on the network is key. Foglight NMS gives IT pros valuable insight into the network, allowing them to address the challenges of BYOD based on current data. Every device on the network can be inventoried in one fail swoop; bringing clarity to what would otherwise be a barren landscape of question marks. This insight is not only key to enforcing BYOD policies, but also tweaking them as business and personal needs change over time. It also enables IT to proactively find and resolve potential issues before they escalate. Whether those issues originate from mobile devices or not, business continuity must be maintained and the insight provided by Foglight NMS goes a long way in insuring precious dollars aren’t lost from downtime.

 

Don’t Give In to Peer Pressure

 

As many remember from middle school, it’s okay to say no. BYOD may not have a place in your business objectives and just because it’s a hot trend doesn’t mean it holds vast riches for everyone. Assess your situation and only embrace BYOD if it’s right for your needs. However, ignoring it completely could have serious consequences. Believing employees will leave their devices behind at the office is only wishful thinking. They might be connecting smartphones and tablets to the network for personal use already. And even if that’s acceptable, they could be affecting network performance or exposing the network to malicious content. The speed at which rouge devices can compromise network vulnerabilities is astounding.

 

Network visibility plays an even larger role here because you can quickly be hit with unexpected issues. You don’t always know how many devices are expected to be on the network and can be more susceptible to usage spikes around events such as holiday shopping seasons for retail brands, mid-term and finals for academic institutions, tax season for accountants and so on... You also might not see that malicious content is being accessed from a personal device and infecting the network until it becomes a major problem. Regardless of the source, issues creep up fast in the dark. NMS tools shed light on the subject to help keep issues at a manageable distance.

 

At the end of the day, knowledge is power. Whatever your stance is on BYOD, communicating a clear policy to employees and knowing how that policy is affecting the network will keep your business running strong. It’s a new era where IT is at the intersection of business needs and personal lives. Foglight NMS can help you direct traffic and keep both of those routes running smooth.

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