Technology Installers Explain Considerations

TechDecisions Staff (As appeared in My TechDecisions)

What’s an example of something you think your customers SHOULD be worried about when it comes to BYOD?

The rendering of content on a local device can be skewed when connecting a BYOD device to a display.  This is can be due to differences in resolution, latency due to the type of connection, or the size of the image.

– Steve Greenblatt, President, Control Concepts


Businesses considering BYOD policies are most concerned about potential vulnerabilities that could impact the integrity of enterprise security. High-profile breaches which have dominated headlines for the past several years are most often the result of employees whose devices are infected with malware, lost, stolen, or by personnel who are uninformed about security best practices.

Results from an April 2017 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute showed a rising sensitivity to “visual hacking” risks among professionals while working in public spaces, like cafes and hotel lobbies, which are both susceptible to visual hacking risk. Of those surveyed, 57% said they were somewhat concerned about visual hacking, while 87% reported that they’ve noticed someone looking over their shoulder while working in public spaces.

One of the biggest challenges companies face when they allow personal devices on their networks is keeping employees’ personal data separate from the company’s corporate data and intellectual property. Installing mobile device management (MDM) and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions can manage and remotely wipe corporate data from personal devices without touching personal data. However, without proper policies that spell out acceptable use of personal devices, BYOD can become a litigation pitfall, causing companies to explore the legality of mandates requiring standard corporate security measures on a personal device.

– Vishal Brown, SVP of Professional Services, Yorktel


The global market for BYOD and enterprise mobility is estimated to grow from $35.1 billion in 2016 to $73.3 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 15.87%, per MarketsandMarkets research. While BYOD started out as employees bringing their smartphones and tablets to work, the concept of work has evolved over the past decade, too. For example, we’re currently seeing a trend gaining momentum that is turning the BYOD model upside down and has the potential to have a major effect on quality and cost control: virtual contact centers. In simple terms, a virtual contact center appears to the outside world as a single co-located group for customer service or sales, but is in fact a highly distributed group of agents scattered across multiple locations and even work-at-home configurations. Online retail behemoth Amazon, for instance, recently announced that it’s hiring 5,000 virtual customer service representatives over the next year. As you can imagine, this trend greatly expands the “D” in BYOD to include laptops, workstations, phone systems, headsets and more.

So, the big “worries” previously with BYOD were, how much sensitive company data should be allowed on employees’ personal devices? And, how can we protect that information in the event an employee is terminated or loses their device? In the new BYOD environment — especially as it applies to the virtual contact center — the big question savvy companies are asking is,  “How can we create a seamless and consistent experience for our customers, whether they’re contacting a customer service rep in one of our traditional contact centers or a virtual contact center rep working from their home, across a variety of devices, network connections and working environments?”

– John Cray, VP of Product Management, Enghouse Interactive


Few of our clients think through the ramifications of their BYOD policy; usually they see no further than saving some quick money.  Of course, there are many factors beyond immediate cost, including ownership, responsibilities of the employer and user and the employer response to the loss, theft or misplacement of these devices, including:

  • What happens when a device is lost or stolen.
  • What can they do to respond to that loss or theft.
  • What can’t they do to respond to that loss or theft.

The first thing every business with BYOD devices needs is a policy to cover their use, loss and/or theft.  That can easily be tied into an AUP (acceptable usage policy).  What are we dealing with?

  • Who owns the data on that BYOD device? How is it controlled?
  • If the device is lost or stolen, can you do a remote wipe? Can you track the device?
  • If you can connect and do the remote wipe, what happens if the user loses personal data on that device?

The intuitive answers to these questions are not necessarily the legally correct answers, and this varies greatly by jurisdiction.  There have already been several cases of users successfully suing employers in this case.  So what is an employer to do?  Start with the AUP and BOYD policies, spell out clearly that BYOD devices will be completely wiped if lost, and then define “lost” as well.  And that is just a start.



– Joshua Liberman, President, Net Sciences Inc.

ASCII Group Member since 1996



On the heels of WannaCry, a major large-scale cyber-attack affecting over 230,000 computers in 99 countries, it’s an important time to revisit BYOD.  With BYOD, you are relying on the end user (employee) to handle all maintenance and security patches on their own devices.  WannaCry exploited a windows vulnerability that was patched on March, 14, 2017, however any computers which were not properly patched were vulnerable to the ExternalBlue exploit.  By allowing non-professionals to manage their own devices, companies are leaving their complete network open to such exploits and dangers.  Once a device was effected by WannaCry, it quickly reached out across the LAN and searched for all other computers that were vulnerable on the SMB protocol.  One employees misstep, could quickly cause company-wide havoc.  BYOD has its advantages but I believe the disadvantages far outweigh the good and companies should be supplying their employees with company managed devices to ensure their own fate.



– Mike Bloomfield, President, Tekie Geek

ASCII Group Member since 2016



What systems do you recommend are conducive to a BYOD environment and what systems do you recommend are NOT conducive to a BYOD environment?

Wireless presentation systems are made for BYOD.  The intent is to be able to connect any time of device for display.  Wired systems can support BYOD but present more variables with the type of connection that is needed from the device to the display.  Wired systems need to be able to accommodate any type of device output from analog VGA to HDMI to Display Port to USB-C to name a few.

– Steve Greenblatt, President, Control Concepts


Advancements in cloud based solutions make BYOD viable by allowing end-users to consume unified communications applications as-a-service (UCaaS) from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. Conversely, premise-based bespoke deployments are limited in their ability to support remote workers, lacking the inherent flexibility conducive to BYOD programs.

For BYOD policies to endure, businesses must ensure that their UCaaS solution is heavily weighted towards mobility, offers the flexibility to align with user workflows, integrates with third-party CRM (and other) applications, and provides a consistent user experience across all devices.

Multi-vendor compatibility accounts for situations where customers, prospects and other external parties employ different (or legacy) technology. With new offerings entering the marketplace almost daily, interoperability between commonly used, standards-based systems, like Cisco Spark and Microsoft Skype for Business, is critical.

In addition to evaluating the platform, we strongly recommend the careful examination of service levels included in the purchase and the costs for needed support. Service providers who offer training for both user onboarding and post-deployment support distinguish themselves from ‘drop ship’ competitors, as well as demonstrating a higher ROI for their customers. Extensive research will show the staggering disparity in both quality and costs.

Also, if your company outsources to a managed services provider, select a partner that employs proven security best practices; ISO 27001 certification and HIPPA compliance are among the most highly regarded certifications for risk mitigation.

– Vishal Brown, SVP of Professional Services, Yorktel


To ensure success in a virtual contact center environment, companies must put basic guidelines in place to ensure for instance, minimum internet bandwidth requirements and computer system requirements are met (e.g., a computer running Windows XP would not be acceptable) along with secure and stable operation (e.g., data encryption, active endpoint protection, and automatic endpoint updates are must-haves). Without putting these guidelines in place, companies could quickly set themselves up for BYOD disasters.

Beyond the basics, however, there is a technology solution that’s critical to success, especially in a virtual contact center environment: unified communications and collaboration (UCC) integrated well with a good contact center management system.

A popular example of a UCC solution is Skype for Business, which is included with Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium subscriptions. Within the Skype for Business platform are several business communication channels, including instant messaging (IM), VoIP, file transfer, web conferencing, voice mail and email. Besides being bundled and integrated with the Microsoft Office suite, which boasts more than 1.2 billion users worldwide, Skype for Business works on all major desktop (e.g., Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS X) and mobile (e.g., Android, iOS and Windows) computers. Plus, it leverages the cloud, which means that home-based users won’t need to operate across IT-managed servers.

But, even with good UCC, you can’t ignore good contact center management. If a virtual contact center initiative fails, I’d guess that it’s more likely a result of failing to integrate contact center and UC channels than it is that the company neglected internet and computing basics. In a recent study conducted by Nemertes Research, for example, only 16% of those surveyed indicated they were currently integrating their communication channels into a universal queuing and reporting system, a key requirement to really understand what distributed agents are doing, and to effectively manage them. If you can’t see them physically, it’s even more critical to see them virtually. And, while 24% said they had plans to unify communications in the future, 60% had no plans. Not surprisingly, the minority of companies that already had a CC-UCC-integrated strategy in place enjoyed several benefits, including:

  • Lower Customer Hold Times. Many contact centers use a tiered approach to handling calls, where a less experienced agent handles all initial calls, and more experienced agents are brought in as needed. When this happens, customers are typically placed on hold while the agent seeks out someone with more experience and/or authority. In a CC-UCC-integrated environment, on the other hand, agents can collaborate with experts via instant messages (IMs) or text messages and minimize or even eliminate the need to put customers on hold. This is particularly crucial in a virtual contact center environment, where an agent doesn’t have the option of seeking out a nearby colleague or manager for assistance.
  • Reduced Call Transfers. Another frustration that plagues many call centers is call escalations, especially when callers are transferred and have to repeat their stories to other agents. In a unified contact center environment, agents can employ live screen sharing and/or IMs with other agents to collaborate and resolve customer problems.
  • Visual Guidance. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain the solution to a problem through words alone. In a CC-UCC-integrated environment, callers and agents can seamlessly convert an audio call to a videoconference, allowing the agent to show the customer the solution.
  • Higher Quality of Service. One of the biggest challenges with non-integrated contact centers is getting the big picture on customer communication. For example, how do you know that it was the same customer who tried contacting you via live chat on your website, then tried emailing you, and then followed up with a call two hours later? And how can supervisors effectively watch over their agents – monitor their interactions, see how they spend their time, continuously watch over customer service levels? In a well-integrated environment, the agents are highly visible and the customer “story” is preserved, which makes it easier to gauge performance and customer satisfaction on a continuous basis.

– John Cray, VP of Product Management, Enghouse Interactive

There is a sense that young employees have an expectation that they can use their own devices in their work environment. As such, do you think it’s important for your customers to provide employees with that capability? Why?

Schools certainly support BYOD, so it makes sense that students entering the workplace would have the same expectations.  With everyone having many personal devices these days, I think that the workplace needs to be inviting and accommodating to the desire to display content from your own device.

– Steve Greenblatt, President, Control Concepts


If they want to keep employees, yes. A study conducted by PwC (PwC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study), shows that Millennials place a very high value on job flexibility. Of those surveyed, 64% of Millennials said they would like to occasionally work from home and 66% of Millennials would like to shift their work hours. Policies such as BYOD are key to accommodating such workplace cultures, and to attracting – and retaining – top Millennial talent.

– Vishal Brown, SVP of Professional Services, Yorktel


Yes, having an active BYOD strategy is an integral part of attracting and retaining the new generation of workers, many of whom have been using smartphones, tablets and laptops since before they started preschool. This is especially critical in contact centers, where employee turnover is so high, and the cost of training new people is an ongoing issue. Study after study shows that when a company tries to force new technologies or business practices on employees without consideration for employees’ workflows and preferences, the results can be disastrous. However, allowing employees to use the devices they’re already familiar with — and highly efficient at using — and extending their capabilities with a UCC solution like Skype for Business, is a much smarter way to engage with and motivate your workforce while improving your customers’ experience.

– John Cray, VP of Product Management, Enghouse Interactive