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How to Navigate Collaboration Risks and Challenges in a BYOD Culture

Tips for BYOD data collaboration risks and challenges

Investing in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture undeniably makes good sense, and an imperative - 74 percent of employees are already using their personal devices at work. Also undeniable are the significant collaboration risks and challenges that you, your integrator must understand and address. No excuses here.

Risks and Challenges

1. Security risks: BYOD means inviting risks. Without policies and safeguards, the big risk is of course a data leak through a personal device. Even a single device affected by malware can compromise systems well beyond that individual device. Employees also run the risk of having personal data deleted or just observed when IT is looking for company info on personal devices.

2. Device compatibility is another factor we find is taken lightly in measuring BYOD collaboration challenges. Integrators face conundrums on how content is rendered and displayed across myriad personal and company-owned devices. Resolution, connection, image size can all conspire to make presentations go wrong when moving from BYOD device to company-owned display. Not to mention compatibility with enterprise programs and legacy systems. Imagine, a new employee on the first day with the newest iPhone might not be able to use a necessary program?

3. Privacy risks - Employees understandably will have some "big brother" qualms about what happens when they use their personal devices on the job. With 74 percent using personal devices, this is obviously an objection that has been overcome, but needs to be taken seriously as integrators work with companies at policy and implementation. People might be happy to bring their devices to work, but will not hesitate to litigate when privacy is violated.

To address these collaboration risks and challenges, developing a reasonable, understandable and implement-able BYOD policy is crucial. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when helping clients develop a BYOD policy.

How can you address these risks and challenges?

Proactive measures are the best defense. At the policy level, it is important to stress that compliance needs to be baked in. These are not policy suggestions. Employees should be expected to sign off on and comply with the policy; which means a good BYOD policy should be clear, fully explained and understandable for everyone.

In terms of implementation, MDMs and UEMs are the most comprehensive methods of addressing collaboration risks and challenges. Vishal Brown, SVP of Professional Services at Yorktel makes an excellent case:

"One of the biggest challenges companies face when they allow personal devices on their networks is keeping employees’ personal data separate from the company’s corporate data and intellectual property. Installing mobile device management (MDM) and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions can manage and remotely wipe corporate data from personal devices without touching personal data. However, without proper policies that spell out acceptable use of personal devices, BYOD can become a litigation pitfall."

Cloud based solutions for BYOD are infinitely preferable to on-site work-arounds. Consuming unified communications applications from any device from anywhere is not just a great idea. It is what most work environments are increasingly demanding. With more and more employees working remotely and working groups dispersed over multiple sites, BYOD solutions must be available.

Companies might decide to implement a solution that puts in place a parallel AV network not connected with the main corporate IT network. This does allow BYOB devices to utilise the AV network without fear of compromising the main corporate IT network. It keeps bandwidth-hogging AV processes in their own environment so the wider network is not slowed down. There are downsides to this approach.

However, efficiencies are lost in the dual network scenario. Simon Long, practice lead, technology innovation at PTS Consulting notes, “Dual networks aren’t as efficient as a single large network. Additional switches require rack space, power, UPS capacity, wiring and cooling and will ultimately cost more and perform less efficiently overall."

Controlled access to AV components through Network Access Translation (NAT) maps is another example of good BYOD management. Administrators can set up protocols where devices with certain MAC addresses can communicate, while limiting access to other devices.

As devices and networks continue to evolve, staying on top of the trends is the constant drumbeat. When it comes to mitigating BYOD collaboration risks and challenges, make your integrator work closely with IT departments to plan and implement strategies that secure data, ensure privacy and manage access points. With strong policy and evolving implementation, you will effectively guarantee ongoing workflow and productivity.

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