Top Concerns When Creating a BYOD Policy

nec-byod-policyThe Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has faced an uphill battle for adoption due to the issue of effective policy implementation.  BYOD offers employees the luxury of working with devices they are most familiar with and can foster a more productive and collaborative environment, but these benefits must be balanced against the inherent dangers of uncontrolled devices having access to your data and network. When implementing a BYOD policy, special care needs to be taken to ensure existing company goals are not compromised. An effective, comprehensive BYOD policy will promote collaborative solutions for executives, IT staff and workforce users, but must take into account the following policy concerns:

1. Security

According to Gartner, the number one concern for potential BYOD policy implementation is security. The transition from company-issued devices to personal devices requires strict guidelines defined in your security policies. Protecting communications, monitoring data usage, and addressing privacy matters are imperative measures to take. Updating and executing data encryption methods, using SSL or HTTPS for example, will ensure secure data transmission. Archiving and recording methods should also be implemented in complying with company regulations, as well as increasing overall security.  BYOD systems can attain the same level of security (or even greater) as before implementation if optimal software services are put in place.

2. Support and System Administration

With multiple personal devices operating on company premises, support and system administration policies must be established. By instigating single-point administration, changes can be replicated smoothly across users within the enterprise. To reap the full benefits of your Unified Communications platform, it is essential to enhance support for administration as well as end users. So how can you do this? First, select a platform that allows easily accessible support, either by in-house IT staff or from your chosen support provider. It is also beneficial to define clear user roles to identify specific support and administration options that are available according to the user’s responsibilities and position.

3. Device Choice

When determining your device policies, of course you’ll have to determine which devices are allowed, which ones aren’t, and why. It is also helpful to get feedback from employees during this process. You can analyze employee preference by survey, asking such questions as “what devices do you already own?”, “are they compatible with baseline security/support features?” It is helpful to be familiar with the operating system, hardware and other specifications of the various devices and device types. In the future you may want to leverage this knowledge to lay the foundation for assessment of additional devices and technologies. Feedback from employees will also help keep your IT team up to date with changing devices as the consumer market changes.

4. Monitoring Usage

Whether your business adopts a formal BYOD plan, such as implementing a BYOD policy solely for senior-level executives, or creates a more informal plan which permits all employees to use personal devices, it is imperative to establish usage guidelines. One way you can do this is to develop a list of guidelines that establish binding agreements for employees to adhere to so that you protect and ensure the safety of sensitive corporate data. This way, if employees want to use their own devices, they will agree that the device, including their personal data, could be remotely wiped if it’s lost or stolen. It should also be clear that it is their responsibility to back up any personal information they don’t want lost in that eventuality. Appropriate termination polices should also be in place, acknowledging that all company information will be permanently deleted upon leaving the organization. It may also be beneficial to establish a mobility committee to create and monitor the success of policy goals.

How Unified Communications Can Help

Unified Communications (UC) can’t take the place of effective and well thought out BYOD guidelines, but it can help keep your company contacts and other data safe and secure when an employee’s device is lost or stolen. With the right UC app, your IT administrator can rest assured that traffic is secure and data loss is prevented with encrypted data en route to any endpoint. What’s more, Unified Communications will allow your company to provide a win-win for employee choice and corporate security. With the plethora of devices available – from iPhone to Blackberry to Android and more – you don’t want to try to support each individually when you can easily provide users all their desktop communications capabilities through a single approved UC app – on the device of their choice. This gives employees freedom of choice on their device and you the peace of mind and safety of managing a user and their network credentials the same way you’d manage their corporate issue desktop. One of the most sought-after features of the app is the added benefit of hiding a user’s mobile number when they make calls and displaying only their corporate phone number on caller ID devices – a single number identifies employees both internally and to your clients. Truly remote working.
With Unified Communications they’ll also benefit from added flexibility and mobility with the following:

  • Corporate presence and IM
  • Click to dial from mobile applications
  • Availability of the UC app from the same app store they use on their personal device
  • Access to corporate directory and resources on the go

While Unified Communications won’t solve all your concerns, it can help alleviate some of the primary security challenges related to BYOD. For more information on how NEC provides the same UC experience across multiple devices click here.

Empower Your New Workforce With BYOD and Unified Communications

byod-infographic-design-1Smart phones, tablets, laptops, regardless of the device, the Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD phenomenon, is on the rise in organizations everywhere – even yours. Check out this infographic and you’ll see that 60% of companies already have a BYOD policy in place. Official or unofficial, BYOD is likely already taking place within your organization, so how are you navigating the changes it brings? When it comes to IT needs, it is necessary to have the means to create a network of productive and responsive people who can respond at moment’s notice. Communication is certainly key in achieving this, and technology has evolved to make way for BYOD as a cost-efficient method to do so.

Many companies started finding it beneficial to allow employees to bring their own communication devices on premises to use for work purposes. With the right policy, BYOD empowers employees to get their job done the best way they see fit. It also aids in collaboration and can increase both revenue and productivity while efficiently bridging the end user generation gap.

Tying it all together: Unified Communication, Collaboration

Advances in technology have led to the ongoing innovation of powerful, consumer-level devices carried in the pockets of millions of people. Did you ever imagine that all the power of a workstation desktop would be available on a majority of today’s smart phones? This concept grabbed the attention of enterprise software developers early on and they have continued to capitalize on creating scalable communications and productivity software that spans multiple devices.

Most of your workforce is likely already walking around with their own computing device. From smartphones to laptops to tablets, many companies have found that in allowing the workforce to use devices with which they are already familiar, you can improve productivity and lower overall operating costs, resulting in additions to your top-line. In this A.T. Kearney report, 40 percent of respondents admit they use at least one personal IT device for business purposes. This same study cites that employees who can perform their duties using tools tailored to their needs, rather than tools designed to meet company-wide standards, have a more positive attitude, are more motivated and more efficient. In order for a BYOD strategy to be beneficial, communications must be paired with technology that is aligned with the needs of your workforce.

If you’re looking for ways to empower your end users to increase their productivity, check out the CIO.com webcast that we sponsored on the topic of BYOD and the new workforce. You’ll learn more about implementing strategies to build a secure, scalable, and cost efficient business that addresses the demand for BYOD and access to unified communications.

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Infographic source

Mobility & UC – Get Everything You Want on the Device of Your Choice

nec-mobility-uc-tabletUnified Communications (UC) has enjoyed a steady, if not slow, broad acceptance as technology users begin to accept the efficiency and effectiveness of new market-driven apps. With employee mobility becoming a priority, an office for some does not include the traditional four walls, and as a result, smartphones and tablets have caused a rush for the door.

InformationWeek’s State of Unified Communications 2012 report by Michael Finneran surveyed more than 300 IT professionals, 67 percent of whom said they currently have deployed or are planning to deploy Unified Communications.

Collaboration and efficiency were cited as the driving forces for the IT professionals’ decision to supply UC systems. To further support the growing partnership between UC and mobility,InformationWeek cites a survey in which 87 percent of 300 respondents claim to expect smartphone use to grow in the field of sales. In this same survey, only 8 percent reported plans to purchase desktops.

These reports come as no surprise, however, when all the benefits, offerings and advantages of both a laptop and desktop can now be found on your choice of a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile handheld device, and easily at that. The mobilization of communication has unleashed a genuine freedom in business communications, where users demand the same capabilities on smartphones and other handhelds as they utilize on desktops and laptops. With the increase in workforce mobility, these users’ demands are being met.

Reaching Into the Fold: Mobile Unified Communications

Mobile UC initially evolved from the concept of fixed/mobile convergence (FMC). FMC integrated mobile network services, and resulted in the voice market evolution into UC systems where voice is only one of several communication modes to be integrated. This methodology ultimately replaced FMC.

Despite all of the benefits, adoption of UC is still slow, and according to Information Week, it is due to a lack of user engagement– to limited IT infrastructure– to lack of enough funds to implement the adoption. The wait for the evolution of security and management is over, and with this evolution comes to the necessary improvements for these systems to flow into a natural, trusted cultural adoption. For unification within this media to truly occur, this evolution was absolutely necessary.
Now that budgets are finally easing and seeing some room to “bend,” it’s time to consider devoting time and energy to mixing mobile devices in the UC fold. If productivity is your goal, and expanded profit margins are your intended accomplishment, the only way to deliver the full benefit of your endeavor is to liberate your immediate users with mobile unified communication. The tables have turned; earlier efforts to mobilize UC failed to gain popularity, now mobilization is almost essential. Are you ready to make your move?

Learn How to Make Your Device UC Smart (Part 1)

UCE MC550Communication has come a long way since the 90s, yet, with so many different modes of communication, it’s often hard to keep track of it all – work phone, cell phone, home phone, laptop, desktop, tablet.

That’s why NEC is making mobile UC more available, by allowing you to access your solutions from the device of your choosing. The new Web version of the UCE Desktop and UCE Mobility works on Apple Mac®, iPad™ and thin client environments, and is supported by multiple web browsers including Google™ Chrome, Apple Safari®, Mozilla® FireFox® and Microsoft® Internet Explorer.

With UC for Enterprise, you are reachable without being tied down to a single location or mode of communication. Whether you prefer to use a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can stay connected via the Web-based interface. NEC’s mobile UC solutions add convenience, which allow you to be more productive and efficient with your workload.

Below are a few of the benefits of NEC’s UCE Mobility (UNIVERGE MC550), part of the UCE suite.

  • Single number reach – Forget all your different phone numbers. When you receive an incoming call, all phones will ring simultaneously, according to the contact rules you preset to determine how and when you’d like to be reached.
  • Single voicemail box – Don’t worry about missing a call or not knowing which voicemail to check. All unanswered calls are directed to your business voicemail account, to create a single voicemail box.
  • Enhanced mobile presence – Wondering if your contacts are available? Instantly determine other UCE users’ real-time status and availability via your desktop client on your smartphone.
  • Intuitive interfaces – Sometimes you are busy and we understand that. Now, you can easily set contact rules through your computer and change your status via their web-browser on any smartphone.
  • Enterprise dialing via smartphone – Used to just dialing your colleagues extension? Just because you’re on your smartphone doesn’t mean you have to stop. NEC enables station-to-station and external dialing through the enterprise switch to give you quick access to all your coworkers.
  • Improved efficiency and productivity– If you want to create a little more time in your day, NEC can help you streamline communications and information delivery by handling calls more promptly from wherever you are.
  • Increased customer satisfaction – Want to leave a positive impression on your customers? Deliver excellent customer service by providing customers with a single number that can be used to reach their contact on the first try and they’ll have no complaints.

Want to know what else is new with UCE Mobility? Stay tuned for Part 2 of Learn How To Make Your Device UC Smart.