The practice of bringing your own computers or devices to work is quite well-established now.
Most companies now have at least one or two employees who bring their own equipment into the office.
This sort of situation has been given a name: “bring your own device”, or BYOD, and it’s a growing trend.
It’s not known how many or what proportion of employees bring their own devices to work, but it’s quite common now, and it’s obviously linked to mobile working.
The employee will, of course, take their own device home, and may do their work at home as well.
In fact, a lot of companies actually require employees to bring in their own devices.
However, there are issues around BYOD.
Some employers instinctively don’t like it. For others it presents a potential security problem. There may be technology compatibility issues as well, creating extra work for IT people.
So, what to make of this relatively new BYOD and mobile working culture? How can the IT people secure the company network, files and data in the complicated jungle that BYOD can become?
And what support is available from companies which understand BYOD and can supply tools to cope with the situation?
Can BYOD improve productivity?
In this top 10, we round up some companies which embrace BYOD and the new culture of flexible and mobile working, having perhaps developed technologies to improve the lives of workers all around.
AirWatch is a VMware company, so you would imagine it has all the virtualisation tools necessary to enable BYOD in a variety of environments.
One of the key considerations about BYOD which AirWatch deals with is separating and protecting corporate data on employee-owned devices.
VMware AirWatch says it provides organisations that allow BYOD with “flexible mobile application management solutions that enable employee access to corporate resources while protecting sensitive corporate data”.
Essentially, this often means walling off work and personal apps and data, which means users still have access to critical business apps without actually having their device on the company network.
Qlik provides cloud-based business intelligence applications, loaded with data, much of which can, of course, be sensitive.
The company says its enterprise offering enables access to business intelligence platforms in “a secure and governed framework everyone can trust”.
Additionally, Qlik makes APIs and an open development platform available so companies can create their own workflows and applications.
Parallels is another virtualisation company, famous for giving Apple computer users a chance to run Windows virtual machines on their screens at the same time as their native MacOS.
Parallels Remote Application Server is probably one of the simplest and most affordable ways to implement a BYOD policy.
Certainly, if your company requires people who use a variety of operating systems to collaborate on projects then enabling them all to access the same application through the Parallels Remote Application Server – no matter what their device and operating system – would eliminate any compatibility issues.
Riverbed is one of the more well-known tech companies, and it mainly provides networking software and hardware.
The company says it has more than 30,000 customers, which includes all of the Forbes Global 100 companies.
Riverbed works with a number of customers to optimise their BYOD capabilities.
Alongside their base level capabilities of connecting BYOD devices to mission-critical applications and networks, Riverbed says one of its key capabilities is being able to monitor performance across “all aspects of a company’s IT estate”.
This helps IT teams be proactive when it comes to fixing issues of slowness, or latency.
When it comes to BYOD, rather than putting tracking software on employees’ devices, Riverbed enables companies to “purely monitor the apps’ performance”.
Trustonic says its hardware security systems are used in 1.5 billion devices worldwide, and it has a range of solutions specifically for BYOD, such as Trustonic Application Protection.
Using Trustonic, a company can choose to allow only devices with the right protection to accessive sensitive materials and systems.
They can also mandate that work devices feature a trusted execution environment so that they can host enterprise apps securely away from hackers and malware.
They can use solutions that already use Trustonic, such as secure comms apps like ArmourComms and Koolspan, to ensure sensitive corporate information cannot be hijacked.
Wombat recently became part of another cybersecurity company called ProofPoint, and it has a range of BYOD security solutions.
BYOD’s increasing popularity is presenting “a real challenge for security teams”, says Amy Baker, VP of marketing for Wombat.
BYOD is, of course, an attractive opportunity to cybercriminals, who will try and get their malware in through downloads and installations of plug-ins which might involve mention of Adobe Flash, Acrobat Reader, and Java, which are often needed to load some web pages correctly or to run certain apps.
As a general rule, corporate data should not be transferred to personal devices, says Wombat, as every time sensitive data is co-located, the risk to that data is compounded.
3CX provides cloud-based unified communications platform which the company says allows businesses and their workers, customers and partners to communicate over any channel, from any device, on any infrastructure.
This means workers can use the system on any existing device, from smartphones to laptops regardless of the brand or model.
And because 3CX is a purely software-based platform, not tied to any specific hardware or infrastructure, it enables businesses to keep pace with evolving technology and changing employee devices without having to re-invest in their communications platform.
LastPass provides a password-management system, meaning it remembers all your passwords.
Managing or even using a BYOD network, or anything online these days, requires the use of many passwords.
And while the introduction of BYOD and remote working is a convenient solution for businesses, there are added risks.
Employees working on their own devices means they are often the first line of defence against outside threats, and the entry points to a companies’ security are greatly increased.
By using a password manager, such as LastPass, employees can access password-protected systems or sites on their own devices securely and with ease.
This will reduce risky practices such as writing passwords down and keeping a hard copy of logins, says LastPass.
With the right technology in place, companies will have an all-encompassing view of their security and be able to safeguard otherwise unprotected data entry points.
Ivanti is a provider of IT management solutions, with products and services for a wide range of situations.
For the BYOD space, Phil Merson, director, IT asset management specialist at Ivanti, the “proliferation of devices and data will leave organisations with no option but to manage their data and assets thoroughly, in order to control it”.
Management in the traditional Windows sense is sometimes not possible in BYOD, says Merson, so it’s critical to at least see and record the assets they are using for corporate purposes.
Some organisations for example, have reported saving millions of pounds in licensing fees in the first year alone of implementing an IT asset management solution.
Managing BYOD assets with authorised corporate applications alongside corporate owned assets is critical for a holistic asset database, adds Merson.
This is important for visibility, security and compliance of software licenses and software updates or patches.
Cyxtera is an infrastructure company which provides a global data centre platform with “advanced cybersecurity”, including solutions that can manage BYOD environments.
In particular, its AppGate solution offers an alternative approach to network security. Cyxtera calls it the “Software Defined Perimeter” – a network security model that dynamically creates one-to-one network connections between the user and the resources they access based on context, including the device used.
Traditional security takes an “authenticate first” approach and, once you’ve confirmed your identity, then everything else becomes visible.
Cyxtera says this approach puts organisations at risk and exhibits numerous security vulnerabilities, especially when you consider the myriad of devices that could be used – what the company calls “the BYOD phenomenon”.
The principle is that the Software Defined Perimeter eliminates the risk from BYOD while also embracing the flexibility it offers easily supporting the modern workforce by securing access wherever users may be, inside and outside the network perimeter.
Video has become a vital part of many businesses – for communication between employees and clients as well as for communicating marketing messages through corporate and informational videos.
And enabling people to collaborate is often essential in the production, delivery and distribution of videos.
Qumu provides video services – such as executive webcasting, corporate messages, training, and others – to many of the largest businesses in the world.
Qumu says that, in the BYOD culture of the new digital workplace, organisations must make it easy for employees to create and consume video as part of their everyday communication activities.
The fact is, whether companies choose to allow it or not, video will become an integral part of the BYOD workplace, says Qumu.
BYOD can also be a critical strategy to make unified communications work smoothly in a company.
Employees have a variety of preferences when it comes to communications too, but mobile is especially important, according to CounterPath, a specialist unified communications provider.
Enterprises are embracing a BYOD approach for mobile devices, says CounterPath, but the company adds that they need to keep applications that use sensitive enterprise information secure.
Counterpath says its Mobile Device Management frameworks provide a method for enterprise to provision, manage, and – if needed – remotely wipe containers with these applications on employee’s devices.