BYOT: What It Means for IT

Planning for BYOT

"That’s not supported" has been a common excuse for IT departments in the past, but it’s also one that is increasingly rejected by employees and company management. So, rather than look like the office bad guy, many IT departments are forced to move toward adopting BYOT-friendly strategies.

What does a BYOT strategy look like? For many companies, it boils down to mobile device management (MDM), policies, technology and the secure application of such technology. According to John Dale, a product marketing manager at Fiberlink, a company that provides MDM platform services, a strong BYOT strategy should look something like this:

1. Risk Assessment

Understand the risks BYOT presents to the given business model. Before implementing anything, companies should understand what allowing personal devices actually means. This step should involve discussion with the corporate legal team.

2. Create Policies around BYOT

Generate or create a formal written policy around BYOT. In general, this should fit into the company’s current IT and HR policies. Other things that need to be hashed out here include:
  • Who will pay for devices (employee or company)?
  • Who will pay for data? If the company pays, will there be a cap?
  • Which employees will have access to what data on their devices, and how will they access it?
  • How will employees enroll their devices?
  • What is the company’s exit strategy to remove company data from phones when employees leave the company?

3. Match the Technology to the Company’s Needs

This involves determining how BYOT will be used by employees and setting up systems to enable this use. For some companies, this could mean buying an MDM platform. For others, it may mean simply applying data synchronization software, such as Windows Device Management System (ActiveSync).

4. Apply the Technology

This means providing a clear way to authenticate and enroll employee devices. Companies also should provide instructions to facilitate smooth employee enrollment.

After that, it’s up to IT to follow company policies and bring the devices into the company’s technological fold.

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Written by Tara Struyk
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Tara Struyk is a senior editor at and a freelance editor, blogger and writer for hire. She specializes in writing about personal finance, investing, careers and consumer technology. Likes: The Internet, espresso and running. Dislikes: Typos, debt and domestic vehicles.