Why imposing a ban on personal devices at work is not the best strategy

Companies across the globe are increasingly recognising that giving employees the ‘green light’ to use personal devices at work can help to reduce expenditure on IT, mobilise their business and improve morale by providing a much sought after perk.

However a recent report from industry analyst, Forrester, suggests that some organisations are struggling to secure and manage personally owned devices effectively.

Despite growing support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes, Forrester’s report revealed that just 16 per cent of US organisations currently offer IT support for all personally owned mobile phones and smartphones, whilst 12 per cent offer limited support for certain devices.

Comparatively, only 14 per cent of European companies offer full support for all devices owned by employees, with 10 per cent providing limited support for some personally owned handsets.

Interestingly, Forrester’s report shows that European firms are more likely to ban the use of personally owned devices in the workplace than support them, with 15 per cent of businesses in Europe currently enforcing bans on employee owned devices.

This is understandable; without a secure mobile device management system in place, allowing workers to use their personal devices in a professional capacity can be a potential security risk.

However imposing a ban on the use of personal devices at work is not the best strategy. Whilst it might seem like the logical thing to do it can often have little effect, with some workers continuing to use their devices surreptitiously, and others feeling demotivated as they don’t see any harm in what they’re doing and believe it’s actually enhancing their productivity.

For many firms, the best solution is to invest in technology that will allow them to securely deploy and manage a whole host of different handsets, not to mention centrally deploy and manage business applications down to a user level.

To make sure that corporate data and emails are fully protected, businesses should invest in a solution that will allow them to securely deploy and manage any type of device, regardless of whether it’s owned by the company or the employee.

By placing confidential information inside a secure app environment and behind a firewall, organisations can ensure that information is kept safe, even if the device falls into the wrong hands or is connected to the web via an unsecured public internet connection.

It’s also a very good idea to develop an employee policy that clearly states what staff must do if they wish to use a personal device for work purposes. At present four per cent of organisations don’t have an official policy for the use of personal devices, according to Forester’s research, which suggests that there may be some confusion amongst employees about what they can and cannot use personal owned devices for.

By investing in the right technology and putting clear, easy-to-understand policies in place, companies can allow staff to use their own mobile phones and smartphones at work, without worrying about how this may impact corporate security or productivity across the organisation.

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Costis Papadimitrakopoulos is CEO of Globo. Costis holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens. From 1989 to 1995 Costis was operations and exports manager for his family’s fruit processing business, Sparti Hellas S.A., where he gained experience of the markets in Greece, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Upon leaving the family business he founded Globo in 1997. Since 2008 he serves as Chairman to Hellenic Capital plc, a UK PLUS Quoted investment company. He is also Chairman to the Hellenic Association of Mobile Application Companies, founded in 2010. He has participated in more than 15 national and international ICT projects and is an active member on several committees.