So your company has successfully adopted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.  It’s a win-win, as employees are happy to use devices they actually want to be using and your business is realizing IT savings.  But along with BYOD comes an important discussion surrounding BYOA (Bring Your Own Application), as more and more employees are inclined to forego cumbersome corporate software for more user friendly, mobile apps.  Some of the most popular workplace apps include Dropbox (file sharing and storage), Evernote (note compilation and content curation) and Asana (project management).

And while these apps almost certainly have the potential to encourage increased employee productivity, the use of external programs also exposes corporate data to some degree of risk.  There is most definitely a tradeoff, however, in our experience, with some proactive policies, BYOA can yield great results.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to stay on top of BYOA in your organization:

  1. Create policies surrounding app usage (to go along with your BYOD policy) that all employees agree to before using their own device and apps for business-related functions.electronic-tablet-1238205__340
  1. Perform a vulnerability assessment. As part of this, find out what apps your employees are already using and do some research on these apps and how they store or share corporate data.
  1. Understand why your employees prefer certain apps over other. In most cases, if an app works well for your particular business model, more and more employees will begin using it until there is a critical mass and app usage becomes the norm.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you can find apps that everyone can agree on, it becomes easier to suggest these “approved” apps to new employees and have a better handle on how data is being used.
  1. Create a list of suggested or approved apps that you distribute to your employees on a regular basis. And listen to your employees and encourage feedback on possible new apps that might be a good fit for your business. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible for your employees to maximize productivity without having to “go rogue” and experiment with unknown apps.
  1. If you get to a point where certain apps are critical to your business and are handling large volumes of critical data, consider purchasing enterprise versions of these apps to distribute to your employees. While this does divert the cost of apps from the user or employee to the business, it also gives your IT department more centralized control.

Don’t let BYOA catch you off guard.  If your organization has embraced BYOD, it’s time to address BYOA.  Let the team at ATB help your business create BYOA policies that not only promote increased employee productivity, but also ensure your corporate data is not exposed to unnecessary risk.  Contact us today to learn more about how BYOD and BYOA can work for you!

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