The influx of personal devices in the workplace is difficult to stem. Whether the IT department endorses it or not, employees will inevitably use the tools that enable them to complete tasks in the most efficient manner. It therefore makes sense for businesses to create formal mobility policies to manage these devices and mitigate any security risks. A popular way to do this is by implementing a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) strategy.
Breaking down BYOD
Gartner defines BYOD as a “strategy allowing employees, business partners and other users to utilise personally selected and purchased devices to execute enterprise applications and access data”. One of the major benefits of BYOD is that employees get to use hardware that they are comfortable using. Rather than forcing them to use a new device, they can hit the ground running with their own tablet or laptop, plus these mobile devices are typically newer and more advanced than the equipment supplied by employers. As a result, BYOD strategies are often cited as a win-win for organisations, since they boost both morale and efficiency in the workplace, while taking the burden off of IT to provision the hardware.
Yet, BYOD isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While the mobile workforce can be good for productivity, it creates issues for IT whose job it is to ensure security and functionality of each personal device. If sensitive corporate data resides on individual devices, it is inherently at risk if they are lost or stolen. In addition, if a personal device is compromised by a virus and then connects to a corporate network, all other devices and infrastructure on that network are also at risk.
The best way for IT departments to address the demands of BYOD strategies is with a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution, which allows employees to have control over which device they work on, while IT retains control over corporate data, information, and applications. This is possible because all data resides in the Cloud where it can be protected with all the controls and defences that could never be placed on or around a mobile device.
DaaS relieves IT departments by shifting the responsibility of desktop management to a managed service provider. Workers access the network by logging in through a remote desktop client running on their devices, meaning they can work from anywhere, anytime. In this way, IT can ensure devices are secure while enabling productivity and satisfying employee demand for more flexibility in the way work gets done.
Best of both worlds
Some organisations, however, aren't willing or able to give up all control, whether due to compliance issues in a highly regulated industry or performance concerns with workers in areas with limited access to the internet required to access the Cloud.
For these cases, a hybrid DaaS model is an option. For example, an organisation could run DaaS internally via an on premise private cloud to serve users who are in the corporate headquarters or to serve a set of users who are working with data that must be stored in a corporate-controlled data centre. At the same time, the organisation could use DaaS offered by a managed service provider for workers who are travelling or based in a remote office. The two setups can be integrated so that IT has a single management console.
Safe and secure
IT departments are under pressure to support employees using their own devices, and those that have implemented BYOD strategies are discovering how burdensome the mobile workforce can really be. A DaaS solution is the key to managing mobility challenges as it enables IT to get a handle on the proliferation of devices without taking on the associated risks.
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