Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture has become the norm in many office spaces today. It’s inevitable, given the ubiquity of mobile devices in people’s personal lives, that the number of devices on your network environment is likely to be much higher than it would have been a few years ago. Apart from concerns over the impact to employees’ productivity in the office, the device revolution has had a major impact on network security and network capacity planning. While it was common – and still is, to some extent, in large enterprises – for companies to provide their staff with company-sponsored devices such as smartphones, the reality is that devices are moving into a more personal space in the public consciousness. So how can individual device freedom be realigned with capacity planning and network security concerns?

BYOD culture isn’t going anywhere soon.

Depending on the size and nature of your organisation, BYOD culture could have a serious impact on your bandwidth. Even if each of your employees only brings one device with them to the office each morning, the amount of bandwidth that each could use on mobile apps, unnecessary push notifications and social media can easily compound and get out of hand. It’s a tricky line to tread: it’s essential to manage the amount of time and bandwidth that gets sucked up by your employees’ devices, but it’s also important for your staff to feel that they are allowed some extent of device freedom at the office.
Understand how BYOD will impact your network security and capacity

Regardless of how you’re planning to deal with BYOD culture in your workplace, it’s vital to understand how your employees’ devices will impact your network capacity. Try and establish a reliable estimate of the average number of devices your staff bring with them on a daily basis. Make use of your network management software to monitor and measure the flow of data around your environment, and try to establish a baseline that can cater for an acceptable number of devices without compromising your bandwidth and network performance. Your baseline should be kept dynamic and be open to revisions periodically, so make sure you’re diligent about monitoring and reporting.

Manage your bandwidth and QoS settings around BYOD baselines

Allowing employees some device freedom is one thing, but having an office full of people playing Clash of Clans is another. Once you understand how data flows around your environment, you can start implementing Quality of Service (QoS) settings as appropriate – bear in mind that the specific needs of your network will inform how you should go about this. Keeping informed about how your staff use their devices will not only give you a good idea of what QoS settings to implement, but also provides a network security buffer to some extent. Limiting bandwidth on time-draining and potentially security-compromising browsing habits, could discourage employees from putting your network security in jeopardy.

Invest in Network Management Software that keeps you informed.

Having a Network Management Software suite that gives you the data you want, when you want it is an invaluable tool in keeping network security and capacity concerns at bay. 

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