BYOD: Harmful or Helpful?

Panel of Mobility Experts Addresses Pressing BYOD Issues at Trump Tower

Recently a group of the Greater Toronto Area's IT leaders gathered at Trump Tower to discuss a topic that is at the top of corporate executives' minds, BYOD. Bring your own device, or BYOD as it is referred to, has emerged as an ongoing trend, with employees demanding the right to use their own device, often whether a company is prepared or not. Avema Critical Wireless, a leader in the mobile device management field, assembled a panel of mobility experts to dive into the heart of BYOD and the challenges it presents. The panel consisted of Roger Yang, CEO of Avema, Jamie Barnett, Senior Director, Marketing with Zenprise, Trent Dilkie, Vice-President and Chief Security Officer with Gibraltar Solutions, and Christine Ing, Counsel with the IT Group at Blakes Lawyers. The panel was moderated by Shane Schick, a leading technology editor, writer and speaker, and Editor-in-Chief of IT World Canada.

As a key member of the IT Group at Blakes, Ing addressed the liability issues surrounding BYOD. "Policies need to be in place not just to monitor security, but also to protect the corporation against the legal implications of BYOD," said Ing. "Businesses may be obligated to protect sensitive or proprietary customer or supplier information. However, employees also have a right to privacy, which needs to be balanced against a business' legitimate concerns."

Barnett discussed the importance of having a solution in place to deal with BYOD, particularly mobile device management (MDM) software. "So many employees are bringing their own devices to work that companies are pressed to roll out MDM quickly," said Barnett. "With all these devices accessing the network, a solution to manage them is imperative."

Through Yang's leadership, Avema has helped hundreds of companies implement MDM solutions, especially dealing with the cost issues associated with employee mobility and BYOD. "BYOD raises questions about how much a company will pay for the usage of a personal mobile device. If an employee purchases his own device, costs can be lower for the firm. However, the company may still find itself chipping in for the monthly bill and support," said Yang. "To increase employee satisfaction and productivity, a company may opt to pay for part of certain employees' mobile device usage and support costs. Salespeople, for example, rely on mobile technology and it benefits the company to ensure that they remain mobile. Non-sales staff, on the other hand, may only receive a stipend for usage expenses since mobility is not imperative to their job."

Dilkie touched on the security issues that accompany BYOD. "If done properly, BYOD can be very secure," said Dilkie. "Even if a company doesn't allow BYOD, employees will find workarounds to access the corporate network. Corporations need to be a step ahead by adopting smart policies and good technologies. This trend is inevitable, and it is up to companies to be prepared."

Following the panel's opening remarks, Schick moderated questions from attending IT leaders, which were discussed by the panel and other participants. Some of the issues that were forefront on attendees' minds were security, costs and BYOD policies. For more information or a summary of the session, please contact Roger Yang at Avema.