BYOD 2.0: Empowering Today’s Workforce

In 2013, the mobile workforce is expected to increase to 1.2 bn -a figure that will represent about 35% of the worldwide workforce-and many of those workers will be using their own devices.

People have become very attached to their mobile devices. They customize them, surf the web, play games, watch movies, shop, and often completely manage their lives with these always-connected devices. Organizations that have implemented BYOD programs are reporting increased productivity and employee satisfaction at work.

The 2012 Mobile Workforce Report from enterprise WiFi access firm iPass found that many employees are working up to 20 additional hours per week, unpaid, as a result of their company’s BYOD policies. Nonetheless, 92% of mobile workers said they ‘enjoy their job flexibility’ and are ‘content’ with working longer hours. In addition, 42% would like ‘even greater flexibility for their working practices.’ Organizations have been able to reduce some of their overall mobile expense simply by not having a capital expenditure for mobile devices and avoiding the monthly service that comes with each device. In addition, in some cases, BYOD implementations can brand the IT department as innovators.

The flipside of the convenience and flexibility of BYOD are the many concerns about the risks introduced to the corporate infrastructure when allowing unmanaged and potentially unsecured personal devices access to sensitive, proprietary information. Applying security across different devices from a multiple number of vendors running different platforms is becoming increasingly difficult. Organizations need dynamic policy enforcement to govern the way they now lock down data and applications. As with laptops, if an employee logs in to the corporate data center from a compromised mobile device harbouring rootkits, keyloggers, or other forms of malware, then that employee becomes as much of a risk as a hacker with direct access to the corporate data center.

Implementing mobile IT is a major transformation for IT departments that deeply affects every major industry vertical, and the effects will continue for years to come.

CIO challenges

The most important problem faced by an organization today is data security. BYOD increases the risk of data theft, leakage and malware intrusion caused by a machine connected to enterprise network. If an employee brings in more than one device then the number of devices brought to an organization increases tremendously. This not only complicates the problem for CIOs, but also for the IT departments. The increased number of devices also increases the costs for IT support since support cannot be lent only to a corporate network. BYOD 1.0 is the industry’s first attempt at solving problems related to personally owned devices in the workplace. The primary aim of MDM is to manage and secure the endpoint device itself, including varying amounts of protection for data at rest on the device (which is typically limited to enabling native device encryption via configuration). The primary aim of the layer 3 VPN is to connect the device back into the corporate network, providing data-in transit security for corporate traffic. Both of these BYOD 1.0 components have a drawback-they are umbrellas that protect and manage the entire device, rather than zeroing in on just the enterprise data and applications on that device. Since these are usually dual-purpose (work/personal) devices, this device-wide approach causes issues for both workers and for IT.

Why BYOD 2.0?

BYOD 2.0 builds on the BYOD 1.0 foundation but makes a substantial shift from a device-level focus to an application-level focus. BYOD 2.0 seeks to ensure that the enterprise footprint on a personally owned device is limited to the enterprise data and applications and nothing more. This means that mobile device management is supplanted by mobile application management (MAM), and device-level VPNs are replaced by application-specific VPNs.

With this approach, workers are happier than with BYOD 1.0 because the enterprise manages and sees only the enterprise subset of the overall data and applications on the device, leaving the management of the device itself, and of personal data and applications, to the device’s owner. IT staff prefer the BYOD 2.0 approach for the same reasons-it allows them to concern themselves only with the enterprise data and applications they need to secure, manage, and control. This application wrapping benefit has made BYOD 2.0 most sought after by employees.

Application wrapping allows a mobile application management administrator to set specific policy elements that can be applied to an application or group of applications. Policy elements can include such things as whether or not user authentication is required for a specific application, whether or not data associated with the application can be stored on the device and whether or not specific APIs such as copy and paste or file sharing will be allowed.

In the enterprise, application wrapping allows an administrator to take an application, associate extra security and management features with it and re-deploy it as a single containerized program in an enterprise application store.

BYOD 2.0 and the aforementioned application wrapping frameworks are changing the dynamic in the mobile space. By combining mobile management functionality and access functionality into a single offering, these wrappers give enterprises a mobile IT solution that extends from data and applications on the endpoint into the cloud and data center.

Whether organizations are prepared or not, BYOD is here, and it is transforming enterprise IT. It can potentially provide organizations a significant cost saving and productivity boost, but it is not without risk.

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