BYOT: What It Means for IT


BYOT has grown from a trend to a full-fledged reality in many offices. This move can offer benefits to both employees and companies. But BYOT isn't as simple as just letting employees bring and use their own devices, particularly in industries that deal with sensitive information. Here, we recap what we've covered in this tutorial.
  • In the past, many employees used a computer at work, and perhaps another at home, but there were few options for bringing the two together.
  • Many employees now have their own devices. Rather than carry two pieces of equipment, they’re looking to use just one - and preferably one they’ve chosen.
  • There are two factors that explain BYOT's growth and persistence: The increased availability of cloud services and the increasingly blurred line between personal and work time created by this 24/7 access.
  • Rather than look like the office bad guy, many IT departments are going to have to move toward adopting BYOT-friendly strategies.
  • For many companies, a solid BYOT strategy will include mobile device management (MDM), policies, technology and the secure application of such technology.
  • BYOT implementation steps should include: Assessing the risk, creating BYOT policies and choosing and applying the technologies that match company requirements.
  • BYOT has some key benefits for companies. These include increased productivity, increased employee satisfaction and retention, the ability to delegate device responsibility to employees and, in some cases, lower costs.
  • Costs are a contentious issue in BYOT. Even if employees buy their own devices, managing them may involve additional company costs. BYOT is complicated, which has many implications in terms of cost, many of which have not yet been fully realized.
  • The biggest issue surrounding BYOT is security, which can significantly increase the number of devices policed by an IT department.
  • Protecting sensitive data, guarding corporate systems against malware and avoiding legal issues associated with corporate access to private devices and complicated licensing agreement issues are key considerations for companies looking to implement BYOT.
  • There are a number of options for companies seeking to control employee mobile devices. These include:

    -Locking down devices
    -Restricting employee purchases
    -Restricting content
    -Allowing preconfigured settings
    -Applying message/roaming restrictions
    -Enforcing the use of preinstalled apps
    -Imposing synchronization restrictions
    -Setting up secure access
    -Creating a dedicated corporate container
    -Enabling business cloud service
    -Disabling personal cloud service
    -Setting up location data restrictions
    -Enabling virtual desktops

  • Centralized controls, whereby employees agree to allow employers some measure of control to wipe their devices under certain circumstances and locking down access to data, is another practical option.
  • Many companies will not be able to avoid implementing some form of BYOT, especially once competitors jump on board.
  • Companies looking to implement BYOT should start with a handful of employees to test new policies and work out kinks.

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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.