August 22, 2013

How to Adapt to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies


Our mobile devices are rapidly becoming an extension of who we are. These devices are literally attached to us – in our hands, our pockets, or our handbags. We view our mobile devices as personal companions and even as a status symbol. The latest rumor about the iPhone 6 is that it will come in gold for that very reason.

Employees don’t want IT department-issued mobile devices, not any more. The Blackberry was once a symbol of the busy professional on the go. Devices found their way through organizations via strict protocols. As personal mobile devices became more affordable and commonplace, companies couldn’t keep up. Now, if your employer offers you a phone, it may be dated. Your employer may give you a device with restrictions, such as no Facebook or Spotify, and with the right to monitor everything you do on that device (the corporate version of PRISM). As a result, you may be less inclined to use a work-issued device over a personal one that you can adapt to your work needs.  

Enter BYOD policies that allow employees to use their personal devices for work. According to Programmable Web, 60% of companies offer BYOD programs and they predict that will increase to 90% by 2014. This is great, isn’t it? Employees can now use whatever device they prefer. Whether it’s an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or even a Blackberry. Employees can have their work readily accessible to them and accommodate their personal preferences and needs.  However, there is a major red flag for employers, and that’s the security of business information.

Going BYOD? Use APIs as Your First Line of Security

It’s a scary thought: employees responding to emails with proprietary information on the same device they use to update their Facebook status or play Candy Crush. How can you ensure that your company’s information will be safe? What if someone leaves the company? Did they save anything to their phone that could be harmful?

To protect business information and make sure that it isn’t accidently shared via a social network or downloaded inappropriately, it’s important to create and properly manage an API program for any internal apps or databases that employees can access via a mobile device.

Creating an API can make it easy to authenticate users across many different devices and ensure that each device adheres to the same security protocols. Managing APIs for specific devices can allow you to leverage unique phone features, prohibit communication between your app and others, or turn off saving features while accessing business systems and data.

With a properly managed API program, it’s easier and faster for you to revoke access when necessary without interfering with someone’s personal device and data (you don’t want to wipe out an employee’s family photos). It is important to ensure that people can still access their other apps, browse the web or make phone calls without interruption. API management can help protect both your employees’ personal devices and your business information.

Mobile Is Here to Stay 

BYOD is unstoppable. As every manufacturer continues to release faster, more fashionable smartphones, consumers and employers want to stay up on the latest trends. API management lets your company focus on innovation and security instead of wiping and reloading outdated phones with restrictive software. Don’t fall behind the curve.