I woke up in shock on my first day of freedom after leaving my Big 4 job. I leaned toward my nightstand to check the time on my iPhone. Wait, what?! My phone had been wiped. Panic set in first. When did I last back it up?
Then reality hit me like a sledgehammer. I vaguely remember signing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) agreement granting my former employer the authority to remove all of the corporate files from my personal phone. “Appears reasonable,” I thought.
Little did I know, that “remove all corporate files” involved a remote factory reset! A little advance warning would have been helpful. What’s worse, my backup file was corrupt and the restore failed.
To make a long story short, recovering my phone’s personal data required a tearful appointment with Apple. Cue the world’s smallest violin.
Fast forward to now. BYOD is becoming extremely common as companies embrace the consumerization of IT. According to analysts, preventing employees from using their own devices is futile and even damaging!
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Here’s the crash course in the benefits and risks of BYOD:
- Companies typically see increases in productivity from improvements in workflow efficiency and shorter response times. Plus, calendar sync might protect you from the classic “Oh, we had a meeting?” syndrome.
- An enterprise can reduce technology costs on the employee’s dime by piggybacking onto their devices. And, employees are excited about it. (Counterintuitive, don’t you think?) However, it could also mean fewer tech dinosaurs.
- Personnel have fewer devices to lug around. Anything to save us from this fashion emergency.
- Employees have more flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. Namely it is easier for employees to do work after hours. You guessed it. Work-life balance is doomed. Oh wait. I forgot. It’s been dubbed work-life blend now. I wonder why.
- Companies must be willing to accept the risk of information leaks. If loose lips weren't worry enough, now companies have to worry about people losing their phones.
- Device diversity may give IT staff a headache. KitKat, lollipop, marshmallow… ain't nobody got time for that.
- Weak security on personal devices may give intruders an easy target. “Wait, but my phone has a 4-digit PIN and uses my thumbprint! It’s totally safe right?” That’s a big fat no as demonstrated by this brute force attack.
For companies to keep their noses clean and prevent BYOD from “just happening,” enterprise mobile device management (MDM) shouldn’t be taken lightly. It might be best to call in reinforcements. Thank goodness there are a few companies that specialize in MDM tools and solutions. For instance, MobileIron is capable of “providing secure corporate email, automatic device configuration, certificate-based security, and selective wipe of enterprise data for both corporate and user-owned devices.” Keyword: selective. After my experience in 2012, it’s about darn time.
Do you have any equally traumatizing BOYD stories or want to laugh at me for crying about my iPhone? Go ahead in the comments!