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BYOD – Freedom and Responsibility

Mobility is a multi-faceted asset, but some of the value it adds may actually be a cause for concern, especially in terms of the fine balance between rights and freedom.

This would hold especially true when it is about mobility at the workplace. So one of the biggest challenges technology teams in any enterprise face, is how far to go and where to draw the line.

To ensure a good work-life balance, enterprises today are definitely allowing personal spaces to encroach onto the office time, and in many cases that is unavoidable- just as office work almost always takes up personal space as well. The flexibility to carry personal mobile devices at work will to some extent send out a message that the organisation does appreciate the concept of work-life balance. But while we do believe in allowing mobile devices at work, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved at the end of the day. Common knowledge is that security is a big issue with the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policy. But we believe the solution is not getting rid of it altogether, but actually setting processes and policies in place that will control the usage and definitely the malpractices or security risks.

The big concern that global companies face is that employees are averse that their personal devices are being monitored and controlled.

While security policies may be effective enough for the present, the proliferation of mobile applications in every sphere of activity leaves constantly evolving gaps in security. What then is our solution? Obviously, as a team that supports the IT and IT security policies of the organisation, we need to ensure complete awareness of the risks involved, and the procedures that will keep enterprise data safe, even in personal devices. They may go beyond the mobile phone or the laptop. The issue of all around holistic security is always a challenge. Enterprise control on corporate data residing in the mobile device will always be the requirement with a BYOD policy in place. But while enterprises have the potential to access personal data; they may not enforce scrutiny,  as a mark of trust.  It is time that employees also have a deeper insight about the balance of BYOD with their corporate responsibility, and a commitment to keeping enterprise data uncompromised. Every employee also needs to feel responsible for the security of corporate assets and information. We bank on this sensitivity, but keep policies in place.

That is the only way to truly have equilibrium between work-life balance, and the responsibility of enterprise security.

Ultimately, the balance has to be about responsible ownership, both by enterprises as well as employees. And in this, enterprises may be more inclined to have some clear policies in place…and also not be shy of enforcing them.

Srinivas Anappindi

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