As the Philippine government continues to encourage remote work or staggered workforces that allow only select employees to come to the office, the challenges posed to organizations at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic persist.
Even before Covid-19, work-from-home arrangements were already being pushed to help address perennial traffic problems, particularly in Metro Manila. In fact, Republic Act 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act, was signed into law so that employees can work at home or remotely outside the workplace. Telecommuting also buttresses the country’s rising gig economy, which thrives on recruiting workers on a flexible and freelance set up via online platforms.
Coming to the present situation, most businesses had no choice but to implement a bring your own device (BYOD) program that allows employees to use their personal devices for work in order to ensure business continuity. With some gearing up to implement remote working for the long term, it remains to be seen how businesses will employ mobile device management (MDM) solutions to tackle the major challenges posed by BYOD.
- Device disparity — In organizations following an Employee Provided Device (EPD) policy, the devices are procured from a limited number of OEM vendors, simplifying device management. However, when employees’ personal devices are used during remote work, it becomes challenging for IT admins to manage various types of devices running different OSs. Mobile device management solutions can manage both BYOD and corporate devices that come from different manufacturers and OS providers. As a result, organizations do not have to impose strict restrictions on permitted devices.
- Data leakage — The data present within remotely deployed devices must be secured to prevent access by unauthorized users and apps. This introduces two different policy areas: security for corporate data and user-privacy for employees’ personal data because corporate data and employees’ personal data coexist in these devices. The ability to create corporate containers in personally-owned devices helps maintain data integrity and user privacy. You can store your corporate data within the encrypted container, and also ensure that MDM solutions cannot access employees’ personal data present outside the corporate space.
- Secure network access — With a remote workforce, organizations must ensure that employees can access corporate resources from anywhere, at any time. Access to the right tools and data makes it convenient for employees to stay productive. However, from a security standpoint, organizations must focus on strengthening their corporate network so that business-sensitive data can only be accessed through a secured channel. A virtual private network (VPN) can be configured to establish a secure connection so your distributed workforce can safely access confidential data. You can also automatically establish VPN connections on devices for employees to access specific corporate apps or domains.
- Lost or stolen devices — Since mobile devices in a BYOD environment are meant for the employees’ personal use as well, the probability of them being misplaced, stolen, or falling prey to cybercriminals is high. As crucial as it is to retrieve these devices, it is even more crucial to securely recover the data present in them. With remote security commands, you can track the geographical location of such devices, raise alarms, remotely lock them, and selectively wipe the corporate data present in them as well. You can also mark devices as “lost,” enabling you to access their lock screens to display customized messages and contact information.
BYOD provides organizations a host of benefits, including reduced hardware acquisition costs, lower employee attrition rate, higher productivity, seamless transition to remote work, and more. With the right MDM solution, companies can mitigate the challenges posed by BYOD and maximize its benefits.
The author is a product consultant for ManageEngine