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BYOA: Top 3 tips for creating and implementing a successful policy

The vast majority of companies today have a BYOD, or bring-your-own-device, strategy in place that enables their employees to use their own mobile devices for corporate purposes. The ability to manage and complete work tasks from the palm of one’s hand has obvious advantages, and has been largely embraced in the business community.

But the BYO- trend doesn’t end there. Now it’s time to prepare for the next wave of mobile policies, including BYOA.

What is BYOA?
BYOA isn’t far from BYOD. However, instead of the hardware components, BYOA deals with the applications loaded onto those endpoints. BYOA, or bring-your-own-application, is another result of the widespread consumerization of IT, according to TechTarget.

“BYOA is an outgrowth of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend towards and the increasing consumerization of IT,” TechTarget contributor Margaret Rouse wrote. “Like it or not, employees are bringing the cloud apps they use on their personal devices to work … and the use of consumer applications include greater employee engagement and satisfaction as well as improved productivity.”

A growing trend

“It is important that decision-makers work with their internal IT leaders to craft and deploy an effective BYOA policy – one that makes it possible for employees to utilize their own applications in a secure, protected environment.”

According to a recent TrackVia survey, today’s IT departments are increasingly supporting both BYOD and BYOA processes. Currently, more than half of corporate employees say they use their own applications for work. What’s more, 53 percent of IT teams expect this, and understand that workers are using more than just the company’s own apps. At the same time, however, the vast majority of employees – 82 percent – as well as IT workers – 93 percent – understand that the apps staff members use must be secure in order to be leveraged on the company’s network, NetAmerica Alliance reported.

However, if these BYOA tendencies come without the proper corporate governance, they can spell disaster for an enterprise. Unregulated use of certain applications can put sensitive information at risk and could lead to a data leak or breach. Therefore, it is important that decision-makers work with their internal IT leaders to craft and deploy an effective BYOA policy – one that makes it possible for employees to utilize their own applications in a secure, protected environment.

1) Focus on the applications first
TechTarget contributor Karen Goulart noted that although there had been a tendency to focus on the devices themselves in the past, with BYOA, the main focus should be the applications. Administrators should examine the apps that their employees are utilizing to get a full understanding of the operations and functionalities they’re looking to carry out with them. This way, the IT and executive teams can make educated decisions about which apps to allow and which to prohibit.

2) Protect internal data
No matter what application an employee chooses to use, permission will have to be granted for the third-party program to access critical company-owned data. This is an opportunity to implement added safeguards to make sure that only verified users are allowed to access sensitive corporate data. Deploying authentication credentials can help ensure that no unauthorized individuals can connect with corporate assets. In addition, having unique usernames and passwords for each staff member also provides better oversight of mission-critical information.

Besides authentication credentials, the company should also have a top-tier data management solution in place that can safeguard information via an end-to-end solution.

Employees should be educated about the BYOA policy in order to understand their responsibilities and individual roles in the company’s overall mobility initiative.

3) Make employee education a priority
One of the most important parts of deploying any policy is employee education so that staff members are aware of their responsibilities, as well as the potential consequences if they don’t follow corporate guidelines. By educating workers on the importance of security within the BYOA policy, the company vastly mitigates the chances of negligence creating risks or opening the door for external threats.

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