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Bring Your Own Device Movement Gaining Momentum, Providing Lessons for Insurers

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Bring Your Own Device – aka BYOD – is gaining momentum for all the right reasons, even with a customer that would be the most concerned about the scheme.

Last October,we noted that the trend for employers to allow  and even encourage employees to connect their own personal devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. – to corporate networks and resources was picking up speed.  The primary driver seemed to be cost savings for the employer.

However, according to a recent Insurance & Technology article, improvement in employee productivity is become a major driver as well.  The article notes that allowing users to select among a variety of devices with which they are familiar provides tremendous flexibility for the employee at a low cost to the employer.  As we noted in our October post, employees are willing to underwrite some or all costs for the devices in exchange for freedom of choice.

Of course, the major issue with providing ‘foreign’ devices into corporate networks is security.  A recent study of one of the most security-focused organizations in the world is informative in this regard.

CDW – a major technology provider to business and government in the US –  recently completed a report on BYOD implementation in the US Federal Government.  It found that a large proportion (62%) of federal government agencies in the US allow workers to bring their own devices, and approximately 40% of employees have taken up the offer.

Writing in Insurance Networking News, Joe McKendrick  commented on the security findings of the report:  “As with many things related to technology, security is a vexing issue. While 82 percent of the IT professionals in the survey said their agency deployed encryption for mobile devices, far fewer said their agency protects mobile devices with multi-factor authentication (54 percent), remote lock and wipe (45 percent), or data loss prevention software (39 percent). Agencies are providing a good security baseline for mobile device use, however, as the majority are establishing mobile data security policies (85 percent) and requiring data security training for mobile device users (84 percent).

“One answer to mobile security management as well as administration is mobile device management (MDM) – which is the over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices. About 71 percent if <sic> federal agencies are employing MDM at least in a limited way.”

Other findings from the CDW survey include:

  • 99% of Federal IT professionals report they have deployed mobile devices – such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and e-readers – to their agency workforce
  • 89% of Federal employees who use a mobile device for work say it makes them more productive, and 69% of Federal employees say increased mobility will improve service to citizens

McKendrick’s concludes that the movement at the US Federal Government level provides important lessons for insurers on BYOD.  We would concur.

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