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September 15, 2015

Bring Your Own Network is here to stay – even if you don’t know it yet

Patricia Hume, Chief Commercial Officer at iPass, looks at how connectivity is the key to the demands of today's workforce.

By Vinod

BYOD is no longer a mystery to businesses; most know what it means and how it works and the benefits it can bring.

However, with more and more employees today using their own devices to remain connected and productive on-the-go, are organisations doing all they can to ensure this in a practical, safe and cost-effective way?

Today’s workers demand to be able to work from anywhere. Connectivity is key to this.

The cost of connectivity
Having grappled with implementing a BYOD policy inside the workplace, employers now need to come up with a whole new framework in order to enable employees with the means to work outside of it. Without one there are a number of issues that companies are exposing themselves to.

Consider, for example, a business traveller who forgets to turn off cellular roaming on their mobile device during an international trip, only to be met by a hefty bill upon their return home. Cellular data plans are still notoriously hard to figure out, with countless sources of potential cost overruns when users exceed their plan limits.

Recent data from Rethink Technology Research shows that the costs of cellular connectivity on a business trip can reach well over £1,000.

Without a clear plan for the purchase of connectivity, employees may make costly decisions, all in the name of getting things done. They may pay for it out-of-pocket and bundle it into travel expenses, sending connectivity costs into a budgetary black hole.

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Others may simply go dark, choosing to actively avoid mobile connectivity due to fears about cost over-runs, leading to lost productivity which hurts both the employee and the company. Most workers want to do what’s right and will work harder and longer if given a clear path to mobile productivity.

They are willing to put in extra hours and be as connected as technology allows. However, many feel their productivity is being hindered by a lack of mobile connectivity.

Security is another key issue; with the workforce now wanting to work from any location, they are likely to put themselves and employers at risk for the sake of connectivity. Anything from unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots to tethered 3G / 4G internet access from private smartphone or tablet, goes.

Smart enterprise IT departments have already realized that their roles have changed, and rather than being policy enforcers they need to turn into business enablers.

Unlimited and fixed price
With these issues in mind, how can businesses enable their mobile workforce with a way to stay productive, connected and secure on-the-go, whilst keeping costs under control? One approach can be based on BYON (Bring Your Own Network), which allows businesses to essentially become a global Wi-Fi network provider to their employees.

By employing this approach, eenterprises can allow their employees to keep productive through being able to provision unlimited access to secure, fast and reliable Wi-Fi. This will benefit the IT as well as other business departments as employees are no longer exposed to unpredictable and expensive data roaming charges caused by their excessive data demands.

Further to this, businesses would gain the means to enforce and expense security policies while gaining visibility into device mobility needs enterprise-wide.

With a BYON approach IT now has choices for supporting different employee populations with clearly defined, differentiated policies for devices, access control and expense liability. These choices will enable IT to make BYOD — and BYON — successful for both employees and the enterprise.

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