When It Makes Sense To Restrict Device Choice

We’ll be devoting most of this ebook to looking at how you can expand device choice in a secure fashion, but it’s worth recognising that there are scenarios where limited device choices can make sense. We don’t want to suggest this is the norm — if only because you’re likely to experience passive resistance in the form of people bringing their own devices anyway — but there are occasions when it can make sense.

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This is an extract from Lifehacker’s ebook Making Mobility Real: How To Choose The Right Tech For Your Business. You can download the entire ebook for free here.

When security of data is a major consideration. Staff who are working with highly confidential data do need a stronger level of security. If this applies to the majority of employees in your organisation, then a minimal-choice policy can make sense — but you have to combine it with an actual security infrastructure.

Avoid the trap of believing that data has to be secured in a given way simply because everyone tells you that’s the case. Compliance is important, but it’s also specific: if someone claims that a given regulation means data must be stored or secured in a particular fashion, ask them to point to the exact clause that states that. Some security beliefs are widespread, but not actually grounded in fact.

For outlying or overseas offices. Branch offices don’t always have the same access to tech support, especially if they operate in a different time zone. Offering a more restricted range of devices can make it easier to support those locations — though again you need to ensure that training is offered to make sure those staff can deal with basic issues themselves.

When you’re entirely reliant on a platform-specific app. While this is a rare scenario, if everyone needs to be able to run a particular app and it’s only available on a specific platform, then it makes sense to enforce that platform. Even in this situation, however, it’s relatively unlikely that you’ll be able to apply the same policy restrictions to smartphones and tablets — so your final policy is still likely to be a mixture of “you must have this” and “we support a range of options”.