Aug 30 2012

5 Takeaways from the CIO Council’s BYOD Toolkit

Here are the most important aspects of BYOD to consider before implementation.

Saving tax dollars and delivering better service to citizens. That has always been the goal of the federal government, and the credo is spilling into the technology world. In the article “Enabling a Mobile Workforce through Bring Your Own Device,” the idea is reinforced:

A key goal of the Administration’s Digital Government Strategy, released this past May, is to enable the Federal government’s increasingly mobile workforce to perform their official duties even when away from the office by accessing government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device. By exploring options to increase the mobility of government workers, the Administration can save taxpayer dollars and improve its service to the American people.

It’s no surprise that the government is gung ho on technology, considering the extensive benefits it yields when implemented and used properly. The CIO Council recently released a toolkit for government agencies, filled with case studies and best practices for BYOD. Rather than read the entire 40 page document, take a look at these five takeaways from the report:

Let Employees Choose the Devices

The right device will integrate seamlessly into their professional and personal lives. The idea behind BYOD is that your employees own and use devices they like for work and pleasure, so let them choose any device within reason. It’s not wise to force users to adapt iOS devices if they prefer Android. Flexibility is key to getting buy-in from the workforce.

BYOD Is Not Guaranteed to Be Cost-Effective

The goal is to save money, but you won’t if you don’t set reasonable limits for personal data use and implement an IT policy that prevents your tech team from becoming a “Genuis Bar.” Saving on hardware costs is great, but only if the reimbursement for usage is judicious and enforced.

Have a Plan for Data Security

If you aren’t comfortable with government data on devices that you can’t completely control, consider alternative options, such as virtualization. Keep the data somewhere safe, and keep it off local hard drives. Strong passwords and mobile-device management software are also vital to the security of your BYOD program.

Educate Your Employees

If your staff doesn’t understand the do’s and don’ts of BYOD, you are setting yourself up for failure. Outline a plan that is easy to understand, fair and accessible. Regular reminders from the IT department are a great way to keep communication open.

Do Your Research

BYOD is by no means a silver bullet. It can save money and make your employees very happy, but it can also cause quite a few problems. Take advantage of resources like the BYOD toolkit to explore potential pitfalls and ensure the success of your program.