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BYOD 101: Getting user buy-in

Employees might not want to use a personal device for work

Employees may want to choose the device they use for work, but that doesn’t guarantee they will automatically buy into a business’s new bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, according to analysts.

Privacy, work-life balance and choice of devices are three concerns that may make enterprise users wary of BYOD. Choosing the right policies and clearly communicating them to employees will encourage the greatest amount of buy in, analysts said.

A major fear for employees is that BYOD might overly blur the line between their work and personal lives.

“Most will not like bringing their personal devices to work and will be worried about the work-life balance,” says Frost & Sullivan analyst, Audrey William.

BYOD 101: What are BYOD and the consumerization of IT?
How to create a BYOD policy
Problems with BYOD and avoiding BYOD pitfalls
Creating a BYOD user agreement

Businesses should only require employees to check e-mail during work hours or when travelling for work, she says. In addition, IT managers should respect employees’ privacy and not read personal e-mails, photos or other personal data, says William.

“The challenge with devices brought to work today is that they will have two personas on one single device,” one for work and another for play, she says.

“The employer must choose to respect the personal persona and also not dictate too much to the employees about which applications cannot be downloaded or which personal applications are disallowed.

“If you put too many rules and restrictions, then employees will not like bringing the device of their choice to work.”

A big concern is who controls the devices, as well as the apps and data on the devices, says Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda.

If the business can delete any and all data off of a given device, the user may be wary about connecting, he says. “That’s something that users don’t want and can cause a lot of uncertainty around BYOD.”

“One strategy is to have clear demarcation between personal applications and data and business applications and data,” the analyst says. This can be done using mobile device management (MDM) software or virtualisation containers, he says.

Employees may also be less likely to use their own device if a business is too restrictive of what devices and platforms they can use, says William.

“It will be good if companies can support all major platforms rather than dictate the platforms to the employees,” she says. That means supporting at least the top three mobile platforms—iOS, Android and Windows Phone, she says.

Employees might also resist footing the bill for a mobile device that they must use for work, says Gedda.

“People want to use their own device and are happy to pay for their own personal devices, but when work expects them to use a personal device for work purposes, should they be compensated for that?”

Effectively communicating BYOD polices to employees may be critical to gaining employee buy in.

Energy Australia, for example, has resolved employee concerns about location privacy by showing users exactly what they can and cannot track. Speaking at an AirWatch conference in August, the company’s telephony analyst, Drew Ball, said the best approach to alleviating privacy fears has been to “be very open and honest” with concerned staff.

Communication is a must for a successful BYOD program, agrees Gedda. “Education is one of the best ways to deal with change management and change technology. The worst thing you can do is leave your employees in the dark.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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Tags BYODconsumerisation of ITbring your own devicework-life balanceprivacy

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