Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Strategies in 2016 for SMBs

‘Bring your own device’ or BYOD has been around almost as long as the first iPhone. While nothing remains stagnant in the IT world, there are some changes afoot that will affect both the SMB employer and their employees pertaining to BYOD usage this year. And it’s unmistakable that this trend will gain more and more traction, particularly with the synergistic alignment with wearable devices and the Internet of Things [IoT].

Survey Says . . .

Tech Pro Research has been tracking the BYOD phenomenon since early 2013, where they conducted a series of research studies focused on the changes that occurred over that short three-year span.

BYODs in 2016 for SMBs

As highlighted above, their latest survey points to BYOD being used by 59% of organizations out of a 206-sample group. Additionally there’s another 13% who are planning to allow it, while only 28% have no plans to permit personal devices for work purposes. Compare this to 2013, when 38% of the respondents were against BYODs in the workplace.

BYOB Strategies Required, More than a Nice-to-have

As these devices become more and more sophisticated, SMBs will need to focus more on developing a strategic plan to manage them in the workplace. Owners and their IT staff members should start to think about outlining office rules, guidelines and requirements for use. This should insure appropriate oversight to monitor the controls they put into place.

To make doubly sure that that company data remains in the appropriate hands, it is incumbent upon SMB operators to find ways to keep their employees honest. Agreements at time of hire should note that all company data on BYOD’s can be reviewed periodically and surrendered at time of termination. HR departments will be responsible for background checks at time of hire, based on integrity and recommendations from vetted sources.

Passwords will become Passé

BYODs in 2016 for SMBsTechRepublic’s correspondent Scott Mattheson noted our ‘Bring your own device’ or BYOD has been around almost as long as the first iPhone. While nothing remains stagnant in the IT world, there are some changes afoot that will affect both the SMB employer and their employees pertaining to BYOD usage this year. And it’s unmistakable that this trend will gain more and more traction, particularly with the synergistic alignment to wearable devices and the Internet of Things [IoT]. Survey Says . . . Tech Pro Research has been tracking the BYOD phenomenon since early 2013, where they conducted a series of research studies focused on the changes that occurred over that short three-year span. As highlighted above, their newest survey points to BYOD being used by 59% of organizations out of a 206-sample group. Additionally there’s another 13% who are planning to allow it, while only 28% have no plans to permit personal devices for work purposes. Compare this to 2013, when there were 38% of respondents against BYODs in the workplace. BYOB Strategies Required, More than a Nice-to-have As these devices become more and more sophisticated, SMBs will need to focus more on developing a strategic plan to manage them in the workplace. Owners and their IT staff members should start to think about outlining office rules, guidelines and requirements for use. This should insure appropriate oversight to monitor the controls they put into place. To make doubly sure that that company data remains in the appropriate hands, it is incumbent upon SMB operators to find ways to keep their employees honest. Agreements at time of hire should note that all company data on BYOD’s can be reviewed periodically and surrendered at time of termination. HR departments will be responsible for background checks and hiring individuals based on integrity and recommendations from vetted sources. Passwords will become Passé TechRepublic’s correspondent Scott Mattheson pointed out our waning relationship with passwords most succinctly: “Passwords are a thing of the past. They’re a security risk, people loathe creating them and despise changing them even more, and they’re strictly a Mickey Mouse kind of lock that a bobby pin could overcome.” Plus passwords are hackable. With breaches being the new norm, SMBs are seeking new ways of verifying their BYOD users while keeping their data secure. The newer solutions to replace passwords include facial recognition and other biometric functionality such as a person’s fingerprints, voice, retinas and even certain behavioral patterns. Failed Login Attempts & Inactivity When an SMB owner, or his or her IT staff become aware of unsuccessful login attempts, it’s usually a red-flag that a BYOD device could have been lost or stolen. This makes it vital to establish a policy for dealing with network access for devices that demonstrate such behavior. To counter this, SMBs should add to their strategic plan, policies to lock out devices after multiple failed login attempts – usually between three and five failed attempts seems to have become the standard. Similarly, long periods of inactivity can also be a warning that a device has been misplaced or stolen. In these instances, SMBs should require re‐authentication of mobile devices after periods of inactivity. VoIP as BYOD Since SMBs usually have leaner teams than larger firms, it’s important for them to be extra diligent about smart phone use that is tied to a company’s VoIP service like Telzio. Delivering VoIP service to BYOD users is not overly complex, but it does require specific guidelines and policies for this type of use. In 2016, since Telzio’s major clientele is comprised of SMBs, this VoIP service knows what it takes to bring scalable, do-it-yourself [DIY] solutions to help small businesses experience the same benefits that had previously been reserved for large enterprises. On the hardware side, since there are a number of smartphone options available to SMBs today, it’s wise for business owners to fully understand the differences. Here are two: For instance, Android for Work™ has made it easier for technology and service providers to easily add many of the enterprise mobility functions into their offerings, which were once the exclusive domain of larger brands. Similarly, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook has indicated he wants to compete in the SMB market as well. With their growing market share in businesses of all sizes, Apple is trying to become the leader in the U.S., in addition to the world at large. To that end, the new iPhones now have added ‘work ready’ enhancements specifically addressing BYOD solutions. Going forward with your devices . . . The BYOD trend is here to stay – at least until someone conjures up a new means for business folks on-the-go to communicate both for work and pleasure. So, IMHO, the most important takeaway from this post is that as a SMB owner, you need a policy that works the best for your line of work and is amenable with your employees. Smart SMBs are learning about the high stakes involved in not addressing mobile security straight-on. Staff members are relying on their mobile devices more than ever before, and without instituting some of the practices outlined above, SMBs and their BYOD’s could become vulnerable to attack. Prioritize and fine-tune your BYOD plan today, so you don’t regret it tomorrow.” target=”_blank”>dislike of passwords most succinctly: “Passwords are a thing of the past. They’re a security risk, people loathe creating them and despise changing them even more, and they’re strictly a Mickey Mouse kind of lock that a bobby pin could overcome.”

Plus passwords are hackable. With breaches being the new norm, SMBs are seeking new ways of verifying their BYOD users while keeping their data secure. The latest solutions to replace passwords include facial recognition and other biometric functionality such as a person’s fingerprints, voice, retinas and even certain behavioral patterns.

Failed Login Attempts & Inactivity

When an SMB owner, or his or her IT staff become aware of unsuccessful login attempts, it’s usually a red-flag that a BYOD device could have been lost or stolen. This makes it vital to establish a policy for dealing with network access for devices that demonstrate such behavior. To keep this in check, SMBs should add to their strategic plan, policies to lock out devices after multiple failed login attempts – usually between three and five failed attempts seems to have become the standard.

Similarly, long periods of inactivity can also be a warning that a device has been misplaced or stolen. In these instances, SMBs should require re‐authentication of mobile devices after periods of inactivity.

VoIP as BYOD

Since SMBs usually have leaner teams than larger firms, it’s importanBYODs in 2016 for SMBst that they be extra diligent about smart phone use that is tied to a company’s VoIP service like Telzio. Delivering VoIP service to BYOD users is not overly complex, but it does require specific guidelines and policies for this type of use.

In 2016, since Telzio’s major clientele is comprised of SMBs, this firm knows how to bring scalable, do-it-yourself [DIY] solutions to help small businesses experience the same benefits, which were previously reserved for large enterprises.

On the hardware side, since there are a number of smartphone options available to SMBs today, it’s wise for business owners to fully understand the differences. Here are two.

  • For instance, Android for Work™ has made it easier for technology and service providers to easily add many of the enterprise mobility functions into their offerings, which were once the exclusive domain of larger brands.
  • Similarly, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook has indicated he wants to compete in the SMB market as well. With their growing market share in businesses of all sizes, Apple is trying to become the leader in the U.S., in addition to the world at large. To that end, the new iPhones now have added ‘work ready’ enhancements specifically addressing BYOD solutions.

Bring it. . .

The BYOD trend is here to stay – at least until someone conjures up a new means for on-the-go folks to communicate both for work and pleasure. So, IMHO, the most important takeaway from this post is that as a SMB owner, you need policies that work the best for your field of endeavor and is amenable with your employees.

Smart SMBs are becoming more and more aware of the high stakes involved when mobile security is not dealt with head-on. Staff members are relying on their mobile devices more than ever before, and without instituting some of the best practices outlined above, SMBs and their BYOD’s could become vulnerable to attack. Prioritize and fine-tune your BYOD plan today, so you don’t regret it tomorrow.

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Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.