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How to Keep Mobile Data Secure Without Killing Your BYOD Program

3 min readJuly 10, 2013

Among the primary challenges for companies managing their bring your own device (BYOD) programs are concerns about data security and lack of oversight into employee behavior. Some companies have even turned to draconian BYOD policies in which self-provisioned devices are inspected for “inappropriate” apps such as Angry Birds or Amazon Kindle. However, these sorts of regressive policies are missing the entire point of what BYOD policies should be striving to accomplish. Does it really matter if your employees are reading Wuthering Heights on their lunch breaks? Focus your oversight instead of preserving the integrity of sensitive company data. To that end, here are a few ways for businesses to maximize security in the wake of the rising BYOD tide.

Mobile Device Management Software

There are a variety of mobile device management (MDM) solutions on the market that can help give IT control over employee-owned devices. These solutions can enable administrators to establish customized BYOD policies, serve terms of use agreements, and configure access to content that’s specific to employee-owned devices. These solutions can also enable IT to wipe data off of employee devices that have been lost or stolen.

Check out ZDNet’s article on the top 10 BYOD mobile device management suites.

Mobile Device Encryption Tools

Cyberterrorism and industrial espionage are growing concerns for enterprise CIOs. According to an article in InformationWeek, “Elaborate viruses, many ostensibly designed to breach complex targets such as industrial control systems, are already roaming the Internet. Free access to this malware not only demonstrates that high-level sophistication is being applied but it also allows less skilled hackers to piggyback on these more accomplished efforts.”

Companies like Silent Circle are solving this problem by offering advanced encryption software specifically for mobile devices. Silent Circle’s products offer military-grade data protection to enterprise companies that go beyond the ubiquitous VPN tools that cybercriminals are, according to ex-Navy Seal and Silent Circle Founder Mike Janke, “breaking open like coconuts.”

Keep Data In The Cloud with Mobile CRM Apps

One of the best ways to keep data secure is by provisioning mobile apps that act as an intermediary between a company’s network and employees’ self-owned devices. A great way to accomplish this is by championing cloud-based apps that sync user data with a system that is managed by the company (such as a CRM).

When designing our BYOD mobile solution, we wanted to make an app that could easily get buy-in from agents, managers and IT. We feel our app has accomplished those goals. Sales reps can make and take smarter calls thanks to contextual data that is delivered from social media, CRM, company news and more. Managers gain real-time oversight of their employees’ activities since users activities automatically sync with their Salesforce.com CRM. And IT can sleep easy at night because Revenue.io preserves data security. Data lives in Salesforce.com and reps can only log into Revenue.io by signing in with their Salesforce.com credentials—a process known as an OAuth. A user’s individual Revenue.io account (complete with call history and directory of contacts) can even be deactivated at a moment’s notice in the case that a rep’s employment at a company ceases. The result is that reps can use Revenue.io to make and take better business calls on a number owned by a company, while simultaneously keeping a private number that can be used to make and take personal calls.

Any BYOD program is going to require some amount of compromise. As such, organizations might have to accept that unless they want to provision and own 100% of mobile devices, some furious cartoon birds might get flung in the general direction of some green pigs. But with some smart planning and by adopting the right mobile apps, companies don’t have to compromise their security when adopting a BYOD program.