The state of mobility policies in the enterprise seems to always be in flux. As companies struggle to provide for the mobility needs of workers while maintaining both productivity and security, the choice between purpose-built devices and the BYOD model isn’t always a clear one.

In healthcare and other industries, compliance with regulations governing communications and data sharing also complicates how mobile devices should be used, maintained and secured. When employees use personal smartphones in the work environment, problems can escalate: visibility for IT departments is limited, control over sensitive data is lost and integration and access between personal mobile phones and other IT systems is more difficult.

So it’s not surprising when enterprises question the value of a BYOD model. A recent survey of 375 U.S. IT professionals by CompTIA found that 53 percent of organizations do not allow BYOD—a figure that has risen from just 34 percent in 2013. In addition, respondents to the survey who said their organization allows partial BYOD has dropped from 58 percent in 2013 to 40 percent this year. Finally, just 7 percent reported that they allow a full BYOD policy in which the company takes no responsibility for devices.

In its report, called Building Digital Organizations, CompTIA declared: “There is a clear move towards a policy of no BYOD.”

While employees in many industries are still bringing smartphones to work, it is becoming increasingly clear that employers are seeking alternative solutions for mobility in the workplace.

In industries with specialized, in-building mobile employees, secure and reliable communication is critical. Purpose-built, durable, and easy-to-use mobile handsets provide clear communication even in loud or remote environments. Plus, they leverage existing technology, including the facility’s call control platform and Wi-Fi infrastructure. Furthermore, with purpose-built devices, data stays within the confines of the retail establishment, rather than leaving the building with store or customer data, as could be the case with employee-owned phones.

Today’s purpose-built phones are also familiar to employees—they have a smartphone look and feel, with fast operating systems, apps and text messaging capabilities. With this functionality and feel, employees are less resistant to purpose-built mobile devices. And with companies setting policies over mobile communications and data access and sticking to them, it’s likely that the CompTIA figures on BYOD usage from this year’s report will continue to shrink moving forward.

By Ben Guderian

Senior Director, Product Line Management


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