The Real BYOD Impact: Overcoming Device Fragmentation Challenges in the Workplace

With so many different mobile devices and operating systems, how do you secure all of these devices? Read these tips on how businesses can best incorporate their employees’ devices into their company.

In our last blog, we looked at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and how this is causing the fragmentation of devices in the workplace. One of the major issues we highlighted was that the greater the number and range of ways to access corporate infrastructure, the harder it is for IT departments to keep track of what their users are doing. Where users have unfettered access and control, then it becomes impossible to secure corporate infrastructure and data. The question though, is how do you manage so many different operating systems, hardware types, applications and users?

Rather than investing heavily in multiple IT policies and infrastructure based on device type, IT should focus on the user, rather than the device. After all, the main purpose of a BYOD policy is to secure the corporate networks and data that these devices will access. And typically, access to networks and data is defined by the individual, not the device. The organisation’s BYOD policy needs to specify what can and will be done with the device relative to the corporate data and infrastructure. In this respect it needs to act as a complement to an existing baseline IT policy that covers all services and is, in effect, regardless if the device is owned by the employee or the organisation. It should be a constant protocol that IT implements based on scenario and user activity — not on the type of device

Any BYOD policy is useless if there’s no way to enforce it, so it’s imperative that the IT team has access to the tools and technology to properly support all users. And if you intend to support a variety of form factors and operating systems, make sure your IT infrastructure aligns with these objectives. Attempting to retrofit existing infrastructure for additional operating systems and form factors can be a complex and time consuming process, which will need to be gone through each time new types of devices are incorporated under the BYOD policy. Ideally, the IT manager needs to be able to see all devices, both BYOD and corporate, in a single environment in order to ensure IT policies are maintained across the business.   

In this day and age, efficient businesses consolidate their infrastructure and resources whenever possible. So a single policy that can cope with device fragmentation and which covers all devices is a perfect fit, especially when it’s been tailored with the end user in mind. It also ensures that each device that enters the business is already aligned with its goals.

Across the company, employees are looking for the productivity gains that come from having the flexibility to work how and when they want. Not having a robust BYOD policy in place, or even banning BYOD, means your company will be left behind. Ultimately, a well thought through BYOD policy will drive consistency of policy, greater efficiency and position the business to seamlessly support the overall industry shift towards mobility and flexible working.


Stephen Midgley, Vice President, Global Marketing at Absolute Software