Overcoming the Challenges of BYOD with SharePoint

Learn how Microsoft collaboration technology can help keep your corporate data secure and user-friendly in an increasingly mobile world

Take a look at the numbers and you’ll see that thousands of organizations are now running SharePoint as their primary enterprise CMS. Microsoft says it is adding 20,000 SharePoint users per day, ever expanding their impressive total of 125 million licenses sold to date.

Of these millions of users, research suggests that as many as 53% used their own laptops, tablets and mobile devices for work purposes in 2013—up 5 percent from 2012. What’s more, this trend may be irreversible at this point. In fact, research giant Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of all businesses will require employees to supply their own work devices.

However, before enterprise bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs really take off in the workplace, there are several challenges that must be met head-on in order to ensure that the security of corporate data and the user experience is not compromised.

Security

Security, first and foremost, is a major challenge to address when implementing BYOD strategies in the workplace. Data breaches seem to be spreading like a virus these days. Since 2008, a string of major organizations have fallen victim to data leaks: Heartland Payment Systems, Sony, Epsilon, Evernote, Adobe, and of course the most recent victim Target.

If these events tell us anything, it’s that companies need to put serious thought into data security, especially with the growing BYOD trend. More specifically, here are some measures you should keep in mind when implementing your mobile device strategy:

  • Loss or Theft of Device. It is believed that only half of employees have a passcode for their mobile device. For those with passwords, they are often a generic phrase like “password,” “123456” or something similarly weak. The problem for companies is that this means confidential data accessed on that device can easily be viewed by anyone in the event that it is lost or stolen, and they may even be able gain unauthorized access to enterprise servers.

To combat this threat, IT departments must implement and enforce strong password policies for every mobile device, as well as restrict access to company apps and browsers, guard against repeated unsuccessful login attempts and set up the option to wipe content from a device remotely.

  • Authentication. Proper site governance of both content and SharePoint structure is critical to know who is accessing what information, what type of data they are seeking, when data is accessed, from where and how it was accessed (on what device). This is important for both security reasons, and to stay in compliance with industry standards.

  • Jail-broken Devices. “Jailbreaking” is when a device is modified to allow downloading of unauthorized apps, extensions and themes. For companies, these devices pose a serious risk because of their susceptibility to malware and hacker exploitation. A multi-layered approach to jail-breaking is essential, starting with data encryption and creating employee awareness about the dangers of jail-broken devices.

  • Restricting External Sharing. Your employees may need to send confidential documents to customers and third-parties, but this creates a security issue for IT. When a file is attached in an email, for instance, you lose the thread of who is sharing it with whom, and there is no way to know who else the customer shares it with. One solution through SharePoint’s security settings is to enable required credentials in order to access a document.

Usability

The user experience is another important factor when developing a BYOD strategy. If your employees cannot access SharePoint content easily on their mobile and other personal devices, then they will start looking for alternative (and possibly unsecure) solutions to collaborate with coworkers.

  • User Interface. Microsoft addressed many of the major concerns surrounding mobile usability in their SharePoint 2013 update. Out of the box, SharePoint 2013 offers four browser-based experiences, as well as an HTML-5 based contemporary view option and custom view design capabilities. However, each company has distinctive needs that often necessitate the development of a unique solution which will fully adopt your SharePoint for the mobile experience.

  • Offline Access. For organizations that have employees who spend a large part of their day “out in the field,” such as sales people or distribution professionals, it is important to give them access to email and SharePoint content on their mobile devices so they can remain productive when away from the office. Developing a solution that allows users to cache desired SharePoint content and gain instant access is the answer.

When trying to figure out how your BYOD strategy will fit in with SharePoint, utilizing the knowledge of an experienced SharePoint server consultant can make all the difference.

With years of first-hand, hands-on experience, the SharePoint experts at Innovative Architects are well-versed in overcoming the challenges big corporations and small businesses face when implementing BYOD policies. By leveraging SharePoint’s existing infrastructure and creating custom enterprise solutions, we guarantee a collaboration platform that is secure and user-friendly on any device.

Tell us about your business needs by emailing us or pick up the phone and dial (770) 623-5734 to speak with one of our SharePoint experts now.

Or continue browsing our blog, knowledge center and SharePoint portal to learn more about this exciting technology and how it can help your business…