What is BYOD & Why should you manage BYOD devices?

BYOD or bring your own device refers to the trend of employees using their personal devices such as mobile devices and laptops at work for access corporate resources.

With BYOD becoming popular across various sectors, it's important for organizations to understand how they can simplify BYOD management and secure corporate data on personally-owned (BYOD) devices using ManageEngine's BYOD solution, Mobile Device Manager Plus.

This BYOD guide covers the following:

Bring your own device (BYOD) - Definition

BYOD stands for bring your own device. It's is a growing trend of consumerization of IT, that empowers their employees to work from anywhere by allowing them to securely access business-critical data from their personal devices, instead of corporate-owned devices. Some of the commonly adopted variations of bring your own devices or BYOD in organizations include bring your own laptop (BYOL), bring your own computer (BYOC), bring your own apps (BYOA) and bring your own PC (BYOPC).

This means in a BYOD environment, employees are now encouraged to use their personal devices such as laptops, mobile devices or tablets to access corporate data on the go, instead of being denied access to corporate data from personal devices.

How does BYOD work?

Before the advent of BYOD, mobile devices were considered as Shadow IT and were not supported by an organizations IT infrastructure. But as bring your own device or BYOD gained momentum, personally-owned devices have now become an integral part of every organization. The major benefit of mobile devices is higher productivity as it allows employees to work on that go, but their portability also brings along numerous challenges. To overcome the challenges introduced by BYOD, organizations must develop a BYOD policy to simplify BYOD management and fortify BYOD security.

BYOD Security and Policies

Though mobile devices and the BYOD culture helps enhance employee productivity, it also increases the changes of a data breach since mobile devices are prone to being lost or stolen and also because personally-owned devices might not offer the same level of security as a managed corporate device. That's why organizations that are planning to embrace BYOD must analyse all the challenges introduced by BYOD and define a plan of action to execute a BYOD policy in their organization to secure the corporate data accessed from personally-owned devices.

The BYOD policy outlines critical security considerations such as the type of devices that are sanctioned by the organization, the employees who can leverage the BYOD trend, and the data that can be accessed from these devices. The success of the BYOD trend in an organization completely depends on how the BYOD policy is designed and implemented.

BYOD management using a BYOD solution

While developing a BYOD policy can allow your organization to fortify BYOD security, it's also essential for organizations to make provisions for BYOD management. For complete BYOD management, organizations must make provisions for onboarding the devices, ensuring the devices have the required policies, apps and content, troubleshooting device issues, managing OS updates and deprovisioning devices when the user leaves the organization. As the number of organizations embracing BYOD increases, bring your own device management or BYOD management is becoming as vital as the management of corporate devices. With the help of a BYOD software, organizations can manage employees personal devices and approve the devices that can access corporate data

Why should you manage BYOD devices?

Though drafting a BYOD policy and educating employees about the BYOD best practices can reduce the chances of data breaches and unauthorised data access, organizations must also consider the overall management of personally-owned devices. IT admins must ensure that the required security policies are in place and that users don't access the corporate data using unauthorised devices. This is where bring your own device management or BYOD management plays a key role.

The easiest way to manage a BYOD setup, is using a BYOD solution (BYOD MDM). It provides organizations a unified console to bring devices under management, apply security policies, distribute enterprise approved app and share the required corporate content. It also helps IT admins in simplifying device maintenance and deprovisioning devices when the employee leaves the organization by ensuring all the corporate data is wiped from the devices.

ManageEngine's Mobile Device Manager Plus, doubles as a BYOD solution to provide organizations a unified console to securely manage corporate and personally-owned devices.

Advantages and benefits of bring your own device (BYOD)

Here are a few advantages of BYOD and how it's helping organizations improve employee productivity.

  • No learning curve: As the employees are already adept in using these devices, there's absolutely no learning curve and the users can immediately start work. This technology familiarity helps improve employee satisfaction and efficiency.
  • Remote access to corporate data: Using personal devices ensures uninterrupted access to corporate data, thereby enhancing employee productivity by allowing them to work from anywhere and at any time.
  • Cost-efficient: As employees bring in their personal devices, the organization need not procure new devices, thus reducing the overhead expenses to be borne by the organization.

Disadvantages of a BYOD setup

To build an effective BYOD policy, organizations must first understand the challenges associated with BYOD management and security.

  • Security: As corporate data is stored alongside personal data and apps, it increases the chances of unauthorised data sharing.
  • Loss of device: While corporate devices are usually restricted to the organization's premises, the same is not true for personal devices, making them more susceptible to theft and loss. This increases the chances of unauthorised data access.
  • Device Disparity: Corporate devices provided by organizations are usually procured from a single or couple of OEM vendors. However, in a BYOD setup, where employees use their personal devices, the organizations must make provisions to manage different types of mobile devices.
  • Privacy: From employees' perspective, organizations taking control of their devices for management, might be considered as an infringement on their privacy.

This is why it is essential for organizations to create a stringent BYOD policy or better yet, deploy a mobile device management solution to tackle the hidden BYOD security risks and BYOD management while securing user's privacy

How to secure bring your own devices with Mobile Device Manager Plus?

Mobile Device Manager Plus (MDM) is a comprehensive mobile device management solution that can also be used as a BYOD MDM solution by organizations to simplify corporate device and BYOD management from a single console. It also allows organizations to enhance BYOD security by protecting the corporate data stored on these devices. The following capabilities of Mobile Device Manager Plus help address the challenges of BYOD management and security.

  • Simple and quick onboarding
  • MDM provides appropriate onboarding methods to help in easy device enrollment. The IT admin needs to send an enrollment invite via e-mail or SMS and the employees can follow the instructions to enroll their devices within minutes. This BYOD solution ensures that the user is authenticated before onboarding the user's device. Authentication is done using the Active Directory (AD) credentials of the employee or simply using a one-time password (OTP) or both. Yet another option is the self-enrollment method, where employees can enroll their devices by accessing the enrollment link from the organization's public forum/ self-service portal. Further, as MDM can handle device disparity, multiple platforms (iOS, macOS, tvOS, Android, Windows 10, and Chrome OS) and multiple device types (smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops) can be managed effortlessly from a single console.

  • Efficient management of personal devices
  • In organizations which have a mix of corporate and personal devices being used, the IT admins need to configure separate set of policies for each category. This can become cumbersome when dealing with a large number of devices. MDM allows clustering of personal devices into groups after which specific policies and apps can be distributed easily. Thus a clear segregation between the management of personal and corporate devices is ensured. Once the policy is associated, any time a personal device is brought under management, the IT admin simply needs to add the the device to the group and all the policies will get applied on it automatically. In case the employee has moved to a different department the device can be moved to a different group pertaining to the department, which automatically revokes the policies previously applied and implements the new ones on the device.

  • Secure corporate data without affecting user privacy
  • MDM supports containerization of corporate data on BYOD by creating a logical container that segregates corporate and personal data stored on devices. IT admins will only be able to control the corporate data on the devices while leaving the employee's personal data untouched. Organizations can restrict unauthorised sharing of corporate data between corporate and personal apps, unauthorised devices and third-party cloud apps/services. Thus, using MDM as the BYOD solution permits both personal and corporate data to co-exist on devices. Furthermore, the corporate data is encrypted and stored in the containers to ensure security. Learn more about containerization in Android and containerization in iOS devices.

    Containerization to segregate corporate and BYOD application on bring your own device

  • Pre-configure access and security policies
  • Basic configurations for Wi-Fi, E-mail, Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) etc, can be predefined on the devices using MDM. This saves time and helps improve work productivity of employees. Device restrictions. can also be applied to enhance BYOD security and ensure secure access to corporate data and/or to ensure devices adhere to certain organizational security standards.

  • Managing corporate apps
  • An App Repository can be created within MDM that contains the required set of apps to be installed on the employee's devices. Store apps (Android, iOS, Windows 10, Chrome OS) and even in-house (enterprise apps) that are not available for public download on the Internet can be made available to the employees by distributing them using the MDM. Settings and permissions for the apps can be preconfigured (supported for iOS, Android and Windows 10), thereby making them ready to use on installation with minimal user intervention.

    MDM also integrates with Android Enterprise (also referred to as Managed Google Play), Apple Business Manager (previously known as Apple Volume Purchase Program), Windows Business Store, and Chrome Web Store to ensure that apps can be silently installed/ updated/ uninstalled without any user intervention. For this, the devices need to be Supervised in the case of iOS and provisioned as Device Owner in the case of Android.

  • Device maintenance
  • For effective BYOD management, the devices can be scanned periodically to fetch basic device data such as OS version, apps installed, etc., in order to ensure the devices accessing corporate data adhere to organization compliance standards. In case a device is running an outdated OS version, the OS can be updated automatically or even scheduled to take place at a specific time, using the MDM. This ensures that the OS updates do not interrupt the work hours of the users, helping them to be more productive.

    As the devices are handy and portable, there are high chances of them being lost/stolen/misplaced. In such a situation, IT admins can use MDM to remotely lock the device to prevent unauthorized data access and also fetch its location. In case the device has been misplaced within the organization's premises, a remote alarm can be triggered on the devices to help retrieve it. In case the device is lost/stolen, Lost Mode can be enabled on the device which will automatically lock it down. The locked device screen can be configured to show a phone number, a call button, and a customized message to make it easier for anyone finding the device to contact its rightful owner. To ensure device cannot be unlocked from Lost Mode by providing the device passcode, the MDM provides the option of resetting the passcode. Lastly, the IT admin can choose to wipe the device to prevent misuse of data.

    Ensuring BYOD security with Lost Mode

    Further, in case the employee encounters an issue on the device while not being in the organization's premises, the IT admin can remotely troubleshoot the device by viewing the device screen or controlling it. To ensure user is fully aware of this, MDM prompts the user to accept a remote session or in case of iOS, the employee needs to perform certain functions on the device to initiate a session.

    When an employee leaves the organization, the device can be deprovisioned automatically which will wipe the corporate data while retaining the personal data.

Simplify BYOD management with Remote Control


Want to secure your BYOD setup?

Give ManageEngine's BYOD MDM solution, Mobile Device Manager Plus a try free for 30 days, to simplify BYOD management and fortify BYOD security.

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