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You’ve Adopted a BYOD Mobile Strategy. Now What?

By Sean Moshir, CellTrust Co-founder, CEO and Chairman

If you are among the 74 percent of organizations using or adopting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy then you know that the key to a successful enterprise mobile strategy is understanding not only technology, but also human nature.1

When employees are allowed to use their personal smartphone or tablet for work there’s a marked uptick to employee productivity and satisfaction. In fact, 65 percent of BYOD employees say mobile devices have improved enterprise efficiency, and another 51 percent say they have improved customer service.2

Clearly, BYOD is both a technology and business strategy. When planned properly, the results can be powerful and transformative. Compelling reasons for an organization to adopt a BYOD policy include benefits such as increased productivity and greater responsiveness to colleagues and customers, all without the upfront cost of buying smart devices for employees.

However, there is a catch. Organizations today must recognize that these are highly personal devices, a perception that affects everything from regulatory compliance to security and employee trust.

Mobile Devices are Highly Personal

Many enterprises use mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms that can remotely wipe all data on a stolen or lost device. That heavy-handed approach tends to scare employees though because an MDM platform allows companies to have complete access to an employees’ personal voice and text messages as well as their contact list creating an invasion of privacy. Plus, they fear their personal photos, messages and other data could be lost if their phone needs to be
wiped in the event that it is compromised, lost or stolen.

Regulated businesses, government agencies and organizations also need to archive messages and other data to ensure compliance with laws and industry mandates, such as the Dodd-Frank and Freedom of Information acts. But employees don’t want their personal information archived, regardless of whether it’s by design or accident. Equally, organizations don’t want access to that personal data because of the employee privacy issues involved.

These BYOD challenges pose concerns that could undermine bottom-line benefits for employers and job satisfaction for the workforce. Low participation also can increase costs because now the employer might have to consider providing employees with corporate liable devices to achieve the benefits of having a mobile-enabled workforce.

Dual Persona Enables both Privacy and Security

The good news is that financial services, government agencies, hospitals and other organizations have several options for balancing employee privacy concerns with business and regulatory realities. The common denominator with those options is that they take a “dual persona” approach to employee devices by clearly separating work and personal calls, text messages, emails and other usage by issuing a separate business number for all work-related communications. This separate phone number provides a storage space for all business communications, allowing corporations to have access to only that specific work-related data and not the employee’s personal data. This ultimately gives employees the freedom to have secure on-the-go business communications without compromising their personal information while allowing corporations to secure and maintain sensitive business data—on a single device.

Typically, dual persona technology is enabled through the use of mobile apps. Secure, mobile, enterprise-level apps allow organizations to apply policies only to the work persona on an employee-owned device. Policies could include archiving only business-related text messages or maintaining a centralized audit trail of business communications on the device. This architecture also
enables organizations to secure, for example, work-related text messages and emails so they can be viewed only by authorized parties.

Although BYOD’s business case centers around data services, don’t overlook the importance of voice, including phone numbers. Suppose a broker leaves for another firm. His or her mobile number was the first number that clients called when they had a question, and now those calls will follow them to their new firm. That sets the stage for those clients to switch brokerages.

That’s why it’s important to look for mobile solutions that can assign a second, business-only number or mobile business number to an employee-owned smartphone. When that employee leaves, that business number stays with the organization that issued it. This helps drive client retention and business continuity
for the enterprise.

A brokerage also is an example of an organization that may need to record and archive calls related to financial transactions to meet regulatory compliance. The ability to have a business-only number allows those organizations to record and archive only work-related calls and texts.

Arm your Mobile Workforce

Driven by a workforce craving greater flexibility and technological agility, industry leaders are increasingly integrating mobility into their workforce support and business applications. With that, BYOD brings its own set of opportunities and challenges.

If you're doing nothing about BYODs, the worst thing you can do is take on a wait-and-see approach. There is significant risk that can be addressed at relatively little cost, and enablement is a common thread I see among many organizations with successful BYOD populations.

Rather than thinking of BYOD as the replacement of corporate devices, it's better to approach it as a strategy to enable the mobile workforce. Companies need to understand that smartphones, tablets and wearables are highly personal devices, and that personal space needs to be respected. At the same time, technology has evolved in a way that can create just as many advantages for a businesses as well as the employee. For instance, the same technology that allows them to separate business and personal data also allows them to track and archive that data in a secure and non-evasive manner, meeting compliance and regulation standards. As soon as organizations start to approach the mobile workforce from all of these angles they can begin developing a BYOD strategy that’s a win-win for employer and employee alike.

About Sean Moshir: Sean Moshir is CEO, co-founder and chairman of Scottsdale-based CellTrust, a global provider of secure mobile communication for financial institutions, government, healthcare and enterprises. Over the last 20 years, Moshir has led several industry-changing security technology initiatives and has received multiple awards and recognitions. Moshir truly envisions a world where the mobile device is crucial to validating identity, and therefore passionately advocates CellTrust's core mission to providing an intelligent environment for the trusted and convenient exchange of relevant, highly confidential, high-risk, enterprise or personal data.

  1. Tech Pro Research study, November 2014.

  2. According to an online Pulse survey of 251 business and IT professionals conducted in May and June of 2014 by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services across a variety of industries in North America.