With BYOD, You Don’t Have to Choose Between Productivity and SecurityJune 6, 2014 No Comments
Featured article by Omer Eiferman, CEO of Cellrox
Mobile devices could become an immense source of productivity, but employers are still reluctant to let employees use apps of their choice on personal devices that access corporate data. With work hours and locations ever more flexible, employees want to access corporate data on-the-go, at home and long after “EOD.” BYOD is allowing people to get more done with more freedom, but we now have a gap between employee and employer expectations.
Mobile devices provide instant gratification. You download Candy Crush and play immediately. You learn about a collaboration app, download it and invite your team members to use it. The consumerization of business apps means that 20 members of a marketing team could all be using a new mobile app in a matter of minutes. Employees will even give up some privacy on their mobile devices in exchange for the right to use apps of their choice. IT is trying to enable a “consumption” culture where employees can have access to everything they need to be productive. However, it still takes too long to get approval from IT. They have to investigate legal, risk-management and security issues associated with new apps.
So how can enterprises approach BYOD such that employees get unobstructed productivity and employers can still protect corporate data and compliance? The solution is to use a multi-persona approach.
Roots of the Expectations Gap
As smartphones became widespread, executives became concerned about data security and worker productivity. How could companies keep customer and proprietary data safe? How could IT stop employees from checking Facebook? How could IT manage thousands of phones without having to buy and issue corporate devices? Questions like these drove the first generation of BYOD solutions.
BYOD solution providers offered mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM), which couldn’t really separate corporate apps and data from personal apps and data. To preserve security, IT had to blacklist useful apps, geo-fence the camera, enforce policies with PINs and take further measures. Most solutions tried to ‘containerize’ sensitive apps, but this was only partial protection against malware and threats that could still enter the phone and spread to corporate apps. To ensure security, IT had to control the phone, and their lengthy app approval process made employees less productive.
Naturally, people worked around MDM restrictions. Instead of relying on company-managed devices, people began using ungoverned mobile devices for business purposes. They put sensitive data into consumer cloud applications and productivity apps without IT’s knowledge. Alone, MDM and EMM made BYOD less productive and potentially more dangerous.
Why Multi-Persona BYOD Closes the Gap
BYOD solutions work best when people don’t run into restrictions. Because a multi-persona approach divides a phone into personal and professional personas at the operating system level, it eliminates anxiety for IT and roadblocks for users. Employees simply switch between these personas with one tap.
The personal persona remains ungoverned and detached from corporate networks. For instance, an employee could not access Salesforce or corporate email from the personal persona. On the other hand, the professional persona provides access to corporate applications in line with company policies on data security and compliance. There is a total separation between the corporate network and personal data. If an employee downloads a game on the personal persona and it’s loaded with malware, that can’t transfer to the professional persona. In the professional persona, employees can quickly download and use new apps under IT’s governance.
In other words, multi-persona allows IT to protect corporate data without commandeering the entire phone or preventing employees from being productive.
BYOD as a Competitive Advantage
The multi-persona approach not only solves the conflict between employers and employees, but it also creates new opportunities for productivity.
For example, with the ability to create multiple personas, multiple businesses can share information and collaborate in ways that were previously too risky. While I might have a professional persona for my company Cellrox, my phone could also host a persona for collaboration with my digital marketing partner. Via that persona, we could both access the same apps and data for marketing automation, social media management or digital asset management without exposing our entire corporate networks.
Multi-persona BYOD can also play a factor in attracting talent. Prospective employees will have smartphone apps that make their life more efficient. With a multi-persona approach, they can keep these apps on their personal persona, and they can add useful apps to their professional persona without compromising security. If your company has a BYOD solution that allows employees to choose their apps, prospective employees will take note. Millennials, in particular, like to work the way they like to work.
So, multi-persona BYOD gives your rising workforce the freedom to use the mobile device in the way they find most productive.
MDM and EMM created an expectation gap because they introduced security at the expense of productivity. However, the promise of mobile is to make social interactions, collaboration and information sharing efficient. The hope is to untether employees from their desk and office. MDM and EMM tried to support BYOD at the expense of employee productivity. The multi-persona approach will end this choice between productivity and security.
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