CaseForBYODPolicy_SQNearly three years ago, in late August 2012, research firm Gartner published this press release that features one heck of an attention-grabbing lead sentence:

“The rise of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded the workplace, according to Gartner, Inc.”

The single most radical shift… Let that sink in for a second. Given what we know today, Gartner’s 2012 analysis certainly seems spot-on. There’s no shortage of published surveys and studies illustrating the popularity and effectiveness of BYOD in businesses big and small, and across a variety of industries.

But it’s the second sentence in the release that should really resonate now:

“Every business needs a clearly articulated position on BYOD, even if it chooses not to allow for it.”

What’s your position? Do you even have one? If you’re uncertain, or flat out don’t know the answer, it’s time to build a BYOD policy for your business. Your company’s most valuable asset – business-critical data – is otherwise at risk of being lost, stolen or compromised. Problems can present themselves in the forms of data leaks, malware and hack attacks, and compliance violations.

Those threats alone should be plenty persuasive. But if you need more proof, consider these findings:

  • According to Forrester Research, 37% of information workers in the US today use devices without IT or corporate permission.
  • Gartner said 38% of companies worldwide expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, meaning employees will likely need to use personal smartphones, tablets and laptops to do their jobs. (That percentage is expected to reach 50% by 2017).

Piggybacking off those statistics, GFI’s second independent study into email user habits found that 24.2% of respondents (26.4% UK) check work email via laptop, with 13.6% primarily using a mobile device to send and receive email (17.8% UK).

What, exactly, is a business to do?

“Gartner believes that IT’s best strategy to deal with the rise of BYOD is to address it with a combination of policy, software, infrastructure controls and education in the near term; and with application management and appropriate cloud services in the longer term,” the 2012 release said. “Policies must be built in conjunction with legal and HR departments for the tax, labor, corporate liability and employee privacy implications.

“Gartner recommends that companies start with a standard policy that would apply anywhere, and create customized versions by country if necessary.”

Whether you’re looking to build a basic BYOD policy or one that’s tailored for your company’s specific needs, the project involves the same steps. Granted, it can seem daunting. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Use this GFI ebook as your step-by-step guide. It covers strategy, creation and implementation – and breaks the entire process down into manageable jobs. It even includes a sample BYOD policy template.

Your business may not be ready to embrace BYOD. But you should have a plan in place to police it.

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