Small Business, Mobile Devices and Coming Up With All The New Rules

In A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane (Bruce Willis) used a Samsung B7330 Omnia Pro satellite phone to help outmaneuver the
Russians. These days, more and more small businesses are joining the likes of international heroes and CIA operatives for one reason: the urgent need for data protection on mobile devices.

Earlier this year, the Lera Blog reported that about eight out of ten employees use personal equipment in the workplace, yet barely half of their organizations actually condone or prepare for it. The concept is called Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. A recent Forbes headline reads like an action-packed thriller: BYOD: The Most Dangerous Acronym for a Small Business. Yikes!

One solution is Mobile Device Management, or MDM. Simply put, companies define a policy for employees accessing company networks, documents, email and files from personal smartphones and tablets. When an employee leaves, a phone gets lost, or sensitive data suddenly becomes vulnerable, MDM outlines the processes to locate, lock or wipe a device, among other directives.

3Points is drafting an MDM policy right now for our company. (Yes, we are learning with you!) We began by polling our team members. One statistic knocked our Google Glasses off.

The consensus was split down the middle on: How likely are you to allow the installation of monitoring software on your personal mobile device? Just less than half, or 46%, said it was “likely and okay to monitor even if they own it” while 52% said “no, not going to do it.”

Those numbers changed when we asked: If the company cell phone monthly reimbursement was contingent on installing monitoring software, how likely are you to allow the installation of the monitoring app on your device? Here, the numbers shifted with 62% saying they would be “fine if given a reimbursement” and 37% saying “no, even if you gave me money for it.”

The surprising stat was that 70% want an informational session to better understand MDM. Why is this compelling? It shows that we all know BYOD has endurance and most people—staff and company leadership included—want to continue the discussion. In other words, let’s all work together to figure it out. And that’s a good place to start for just about anything.

3Points’ attention on BYOD supports a recent study on the top ten emerging technology trends by Gartner, Inc. According to their findings, they believe that by 2018, 70% of employees will conduct their work on their own smart devices.

BYOD isn’t a bad thing. Using personal devices is convenient, enables greater productivity and connects mobile workers with others in the company as well as work information on demand. It makes sense. The tricky part now is coming up with the best rules to manage this technology evolution.

At 3Points, we offer employees a reimbursement for cell phone charges. As we assess our options for greater security and consider the best route for both our company and our employees, 3Points is considering a two-phase approach, one for those who opt in for the reimbursement and a mobile phone for those who decline. In addition, we’ll be rolling out an MDM solution that works with our existing monitoring system.

As we debate this within our company, we’d like to know: how are you managing BYOD? Drop us an email. Or, you can take the two-question poll now. Look for results this summer so, together, we can all make better technology decisions.