Ad Image

3 Key Steps to Implementing a Successful BYOD Program

3 Key Steps to Implementing a Successful BYOD Program

3 Key Steps to Implementing a Successful BYOD ProgramBlake Brannon, a lead solutions engineer at AirWatch, is guest writing for our April theme; the effect of BYOD on existing mobile strategies. As BYOD becomes more and more popular, some already existing MDM and EMM solutions may not have a BYOD component. In this article, Brannon explains the key steps for incorporating BYOD into your business’s mobile strategy. He highlights the importance of picking the right program, educating your employees and staying ahead of the curve, making sure your new BYOD policy will be able to adapt as the mobile space changes and grows. 

3 Key Steps to Implementing a Successful BYOD Program

By Blake Brannon, lead solutions engineer, AirWatch by VMware

Bring your own device is a maturing trend for enterprise mobility. What started as one of the original “consumerization of IT” initiatives has now become an accepted practice in many IT departments. A 2014 AirWatch survey found that 50 percent of organizations now offer a BYOD program, so for the other half of organizations that have yet to implement BYOD, this is the year to bring your mobility initiatives up to speed.

While employees enjoy the convenience and comfort of accessing corporate and personal applications on the device of their choice, BYOD can be a major headache for IT. With operating system (OS) updates nearly every 15 days and new phones still coming into the market, BYOD is a complex, ever changing challenge for IT managers.  However, the end result can be well worth the effort, as the same survey found that that the main motivating factors for implementing a BYOD program include cutting costs (about 35 percent), boosting productivity and enhancing security (both about 15 percent).

For those companies that are just taking the plunge into BYOD, it is bound to be a successful endeavor for you, thanks to the rapid maturation of the technology, programs and partnerships in the market. If implementing BYOD is on the top of your to do resolution list, I’ve compiled some tips to help make it a smoother process.


  1. Pick your program

There are two primary options for extending BYOD to your organization with varying degrees of enablement and security. That said, remember that both deployment structures can be used in a single organization, should you require different options for specific groups within your company.

One model for securing a BYOD deployment is requiring users to download a mobile device management (MDM) profile. This will grant IT security enforcement to native applications, such as email, for secure access on the devices. In this scenario, it’s important to establish a clear terms of use for your employees. The terms of use should specifically state which features of MDM you are – or are not – enforcing. For instance, GPS tracking is a function that many companies do not activate for BYOD devices. When employees understand which applications are and are not managed, they are more likely to be open to enabling MDM on their device.

The other option for BYOD deployment is containerization. Instead of managing the entire device, containerization allows IT to manage just the corporate apps on the device. In this scenario, end users have a dual identity on their phones: personal and corporate. Containerization separates corporate and personal email, contacts, calendars and other enterprise applications. With containerization, IT is only managing and securing the enterprise applications without accessing any personal applications. In essence, a containerized workspace allows an employee to have a personal and corporate identity on just one device.

Once you’ve determined your BYOD strategy, deciding on a payment plan is an important next step. Some historical payment options include offering a stipend or requiring employees to submit expense reports. However, this can lead to confusion about cellular usage being used for corporate versus personal use, as we saw late last year in a California lawsuit. Today, to circumvent these disputes, carriers are beginning to provide split billing for BYOD deployments, such as the new AT&T Work initiative announced at CES 2015. AT&T Work allows for the company to pay AT&T directly for the corporate-usage of an employee’s phone without requiring an expense report. We can expect to see even more payment options for BYOD to surface in 2015.


  1. Educate your employees

Once you’ve determined your BYOD plan, educating your employees about the program is a critical next step. If employees feel threatened by security programs on their mobile devices or think the management process is like “big brother”, they may be less likely to adopt the policy, negating the usefulness of BYOD.

We’ve found that this communication needs to be steady, open and active. Employees need an avenue to ask questions, have two-way communication and even see the management console in place. We also recommend IT set up a section on the corporate intranet that houses the BYOD policies and documents, including the terms of use.

Our customers have come up with creative ways to gain employee approval on BYOD deployments even without the assistance of consultants. The CIO for Medical College of Wisconsin, David Hotchkiss, and his nimble mobility team embarked on an education campaign to share the importance of device security in BYOD scenarios. They set up town halls, interviewed focus groups and met individually with every department head possible to educate them on the importance – and non-surveillance – of mobile security for a BYOD workplace. Hotchkiss also established an open door policy for this program: any student, faculty or staff can look at the AirWatch administrative console at any time and see exactly what the software is, and is not, managing. Thanks to this effort, more than 4,000 students, residents and faculty now use their personal devices to access corporate/school email, apps and content securely.

While this level of communication may not be necessary for every company, the more an employee feels they understand the parameters of security, the more likely they will embrace the program.

  1. Stay ahead of the curve

Once you’ve determined the program and enabled devices with BYOD security, the job is not over yet. With BYOD, your IT department will take on a new role as a consultant. Providing access to multiple device types, and often to multiple devices per user, creates a myriad of new challenges for IT departments. IT departments managing BYOD programs are also routinely asked to troubleshoot on a much wider range of devices. Be sure your department is prepared for the influx and diversity of requests from the users, including device types, operating systems, applications and other “things” employees bring into the enterprise.

With this diversity, each new device type, OS update or application is a chance for a potential security vulnerability to arise. Partnering with an OEM-agnostic provider that can provide same-day support for all major device types and operating systems is critical to support a BYOD program. Employees are likely to want to update their personal devices as soon as they are able, so same-day or even instant support is critical for continuing the success and security of your BYOD program.

Once the program is up and running, the opportunities for the BYO era are not over. Some new trends we see in 2015 include BYO laptop or Mac, BYO applications and even BYOX – everything from wearables to peripherals to watches are likely to enter the corporate world in 2015 and IT needs to be prepared to grant the litany of new devices secure access to corporate data.

While all BYOD programs require patience and flexibility, I hope the above tips help as any organization deploys their BYO initiatives. To learn more about AirWatch BYOD, please visit To learn more about our containerization solution for BYOD, please visit

Blake Brannon is lead solutions engineer at AirWatch by VMware, the leading enterprise mobility management provider.

Download Link to MDM Buyer's Guide

Share This

Related Posts