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Employees feel pressure to use personal smartphones at work

Employees feel pressure to use personal smartphones at work

Businesses are encouraging employees to use personal devices for work purposes, but according to a recent survey, without a proper BYOD strategy and reimbursement plan in place, it might be decreasing productivity.

Eren says that businesses typically approach BYOD from the perspective of hardware security. But instead of worrying about security on devices and peripherals, Eren says businesses should focus on securing the corporate data that resides on the devices and creating policies around what can and cannot live on a personal device.

Eren says it's not hardware and devices that are the security threat, it's the apps that host corporate data, which is what hackers are after. Your BYOD strategy doesn't need to be overly complex, he says, but it does need to work within the parameters of your business and be something that can grow and adapt as technology evolves.

"It is all about creating a blueprint that can deliver a consistent, predictable and scalable execution model for deployment, support and ongoing asset management," says Gina Gallo, president and CEO of Stratix Corporation, a company specializing in managed mobility services.

[ Related story: How to implement an effective BYOD policy ]

Gallo recommends building a BYOD policy that involves cross-functional teams, so that everyone can ensure their needs are met. BYOD policies are often ignored if employees find they inhibit their productivity or create more steps or headaches for them. Involving every department in the development of a BYOD policy will help ensure it's not only followed, but that it won't risk becoming a legacy program in and of itself.

Start reimbursing for mobile

Employers and employees aren't on the same page when it comes to the pros and cons of BYOD. Forty-three percent of employers said that they felt the main benefit of a BYOD program is productivity. However, 50 percent of workers said data restrictions on their smartphone reduced productivity, forcing them to wait until they have a Wi-Fi connection.

Workers are stressed about going over their data limits, incurring more charges because they can't connect to the Wi-Fi at work via their mobile or they're on the road and away from Wi-Fi all together. That means they're waiting until they get home or to a coffee shop to check emails, connect with colleagues or send files, ultimately delaying productivity.

With these growing expectations around BYOD, if you expect your employees to use their personal devices for work, it's important to offer some type of reimbursement. In fact, thanks to a 2014 ruling in California, reimbursement is part of the labor laws in a number of states. And even if it isn't a law in your state, know that the desire for these laws is strong; 82 percent of workers reported that they would like to see more laws that require companies to offer BYOD reimbursement.

[ Related story: 7 enterprise mobile management features in Windows 10 ]

Even though employees are calling for reimbursement, it doesn't seem to be the norm. The survey from Syntonic found that only 29 percent of employees say they receive some type of reimbursement for BYOD. A troubling number when you consider BYOD reimbursement is more than just another perk for workers; 57 said that they felt getting reimbursed for their smartphone did more than just save them money, it increased their overall productivity in the office.

Keep the plan simple

When developing your BYOD strategy, Eren says to keep it simple and to focus on privacy for your employees. "Employees expect their employers will not monitor, inspect, alter or destroy any of their personal content and apps under any circumstance," he says.

Eren suggests following a growing trend in IT: Rather than obsessing over hardware security features, determine the data that would cause the biggest threat, and figure out ways to lock that down instead of trying to micromanage every personal smartphone in the company.

"CIO's now know that it is about protecting the corporate data that is mobile, rather than worry about devices. There are no enterprise perimeters anymore, therefore tracking and controlling mobile data wherever it resides is the new trend. It is about time we focus on what really matters," he says.

Gallo also says that your approach to BYOD shouldn't look like your investment in desktops and laptop 10 to 15 years ago. BYOD and mobile require a different strategy that requires "proper planning and governance." Otherwise, IT risks being overwhelmed with the complexities of BYOD such as device requirements, upgrades, multiple device platforms and integration. Your BYOD plan needs to be flexible enough to avoid the issues with legacy systems, and one that can adapt to new technology coming through the door, whether it's AR, wearables or devices interacting with the internet of Things.

"Once deployed, many companies underestimate the complexity around reverse logistics for rapid device replacements and ongoing management of large corporate spare pools. The enterprise needs to consider outsourcing the deployment, management and monitoring all of the plumbing needed to keep mobile running smoothly," Gallo says.

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