How to craft an MDM policy BYOD workers will actually follow

Locking down corporate data and apps on employee devices can be a chore – especially when the biggest stumbling block are workers themselves. Here's how to ensure mobile devices actually get managed properly.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has long since moved from being an outlier to the norm for most companies and employees. But with all those devices come a wealth of potential security problems. Rogue apps, malware, data breaches are sometimes just a click or swipe away.

Even with that reality, crafting policies for employee and executive devices remains a challenge because most people resist interference with the most important devices that they own - their smartphones, tablets and laptops. The challenge isn't one of technical capabilities; it's more about understanding how to apply the mobile device management (MDM) solutions already available and effectively communicate corporate guidelines and rules to users.

Here's how to crack the problem of errant users and ignored corporate policies.

Communication and transparency are a must

Let's start with the most important issue: communication.

Communication isn't an area where IT departments typically excel. Most communications from IT to users is one way, short of details, and likely to - at best - be glanced at before being discarded or deleted. (It doesn't matter whether it's an urgent email or an agreement that employees click through without reading.) This presents a couple of challenges, the first of which is getting employee attention and holding it long enough for workers to understand the message.

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