Technology advances such as the recent release of Android for Work and the growing maturity of enterprise mobile management (EMM) tools mean that bring your own device (BYOD) is becoming an increasingly safe and compelling model for businesses of all sizes.
That’s according to Ernst Wittmann, Country Manager for Southern Africa at Alcatel Onetouch, who says that these technologies mean that companies can integrate employee-owned mobile devices into their technology infrastructure without needing to compromise on enterprise security.
“Today’s employee doesn’t want the enterprise to dictate to him or her which mobile apps and devices to use,” Wittmann says. “Companies that don’t have a formal BYOD policy will struggle to contain the rise of shadow IT in their IT infrastructures and may even battle to attract the best employees.”
But sophisticated mobile device management tools mean that companies can protect enterprise data and applications, even when they’re accessed used an individual’s own handset. These tools simplify management of devices across platforms – including iOS, Windows, Android, and BlackBerry – and ownership models – including BYOD, Company Owned Personal Enabled (COPE) and Company Owned Business Only (COBO). The solutions enable IT administrators to manage, provision, and activate devices, administer controls, push mandatory applications, and more.
Containerisation is an important, related concept. This technology creates a dedicated work profile on smartphone that isolates and protects work data and apps. End-users can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and can’t erase or view their personal content.
IT policy controls are applied only to what is included in the container, instead of the entire device, says Wittmann. This means the IT department is able to, for example, remotely wipe work data and revoke permissions to work apps if the user resigns without affecting his or her personal data.
With its Android for Work containerisation technology, for example, Google delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps as an integrated part of Android 5.0, Lollipop devices.
Google Play for Work, meanwhile, allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work.
Google has extended access to Android for Work to older versions of the mobile operating system with an app. It has also partnered with mobile device management partners to give organisations a simple way to manage devices on a single console.
Wittmann says: “Consumer devices and apps are vulnerable points in the corporate IT environment since they’re easily lost or stolen. Companies cannot put a BYOD strategy in place without the necessary policies and controls to mitigate these risks.”
“Luckily, the tools to manage BYOD have evolved over the past few years, enabling companies to lock down security while allowing users to be productive on their own devices.”
By Ernst Wittmann, Country Manager for Southern Africa at Alcatel Onetouch