A bring your own device (BYOD) culture makes collaboration simpler company-wide. And with 74 percent of employees already using their personal devices at work, BYOD is the world we live in. But there are significant collaboration risks and challenges that commercial integrators along with their IT counterparts need to understand and address in order to help client navigate this new reality.
Risks and Challenges
Security risks are manifold with BYOD. Without policies and safeguards, the big risk is of course company a data leak through employee personal devices. One device affected by malware can compromise systems well beyond that individual device. Employees also run the risk of having personal data deleted or just observed when IT is looking for company info on personal devices.
Device compatibility is also a factor in measuring BYOD collaboration risks and challenges. Integrators face conundrums on how content is rendered and displayed across myriad personal and company-owned devices. Resolution, connection, image size can all conspire to make presentations go wrong when moving from BYOD device to company-owned display. Not to mention compatibility with company programs and legacy systems. An employee with the newest iPhone might not be able to use a necessary program creating unwanted headaches for everyone.
Privacy risks – Employees understandably will have some “big brother” qualms about what happens when they use their personal devices on the job. With 74 percent using personal devices, this is obviously an objection that has been overcome, but needs to be taken seriously as integrators work with companies at policy and implementation. People might be happy to bring their devices to work, but will not hesitate to litigate when privacy is violated.
To address these collaboration risks and challenges, developing a reasonable, understandable and implement-able BYOD policy is crucial. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when helping clients develop a BYOD policy.
Proactive measures are the best defense. When assisting clients at the policy level, it is important to stress that with a BYOD culture, compliance needs to be baked in. These are not policy suggestions. Employees should be expected to sign off on and comply with the policy; which means a good BYOD policy should be clear and understandable for everyone.
Cloud based solutions for BYOD are infinitely preferable to on-site work-arounds. Consuming unified communications applications from any device from anywhere is not just a great idea. It is what most work environments are increasingly demanding. With more and more employees working remotely and working groups dispersed over multiple sites, BYOD solutions must be available.
Companies might decide to implement a solution that puts in place a parallel AV network not connected with the main corporate IT network. This does allow BYOB devices to utilize the AV network without fear of compromising the main corporate IT network. It keeps bandwidth-hogging AV processes in their own environment so the wider network is not slowed down. There are downsides to the dual network scenario. Additional switches for a secondary network require rack space, power and capacity that cost more and impact overall efficiency, so worth weighing the options.
Controlled access to AV components through Network Access Translation (NAT) maps is another example of good BYOD management. Administrators can set up protocols where devices with certain MAC addresses can communicate, while limiting access to other devices.
As a commercial integrator, we weigh and advise on all the options. As devices and networks continue to evolve, staying on top of the trends is the constant drumbeat of businesses. When it comes to mitigating BYOD collaboration risks and challenges, integrators work closely with IT departments to plan and implement strategies that secure data, ensure privacy and manage access points. With strong policy and evolving implementation, we ensure the ongoing workflow and productivity of the companies we serve.