Security Issues Remain as BYOD Moves to the Forefront of Employee Mobility

26 Aug 2014

Retail TouchPoints (RTP) just released their 2014 Survey Report Keeping Up With The Next Generation Of Store Operations, which spotlights new key trends in store operations.

I definitely expected to see some of the in-store mobility trends the survey uncovered. For instance, more than half of the respondents currently arm or have plans to arm their employees with mobile devices. What I was really surprised to learn is that the majority of retailers (53%) are leveraging the BYOD trend (allowing employees to use their own devices) to create a more engaging shopping experience.

Here are the top five functions that store associates are performing using mobile technology, according to the RTP survey:

  • Product Information – 60%
  • Accessing Inventory/Availability – 50%
  • Online Ordering of Out-Of-Stock Items – 43%
  • Clienteling/Assisted Selling – 43%
  • Mobile Payment – 38%

Listen, we get it. We know that the benefits of embracing and investing in the trend are too great to ignore (IT cost savings, productivity gains, employee and customer satisfaction, operational flexibility). However, it’s important to note that there are inherent risks involved with a BYOD environment – all of which have the potential to cause a significant breakdown in store operations (or loss in customer loyalty) without the proper security measures in place.

The three main security questions for retailers to consider are:

  1. How do we secure the data on a device in the case of it being lost or stolen?
  2. How do we encrypt information to ensure that all communications between the device and back-end infrastructure are secure?
  3. How do we separate an employee’s work information from their personal information?

In order to achieve baseline security, we’re helping our customers design and implement a comprehensive MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution. Our assistance also guides retailers through some of the pitfalls commonly associated with mobile deployments and helps uncover new ways to reduce TCO on mobile assets and eliminate post launch “unknowns.”

Bottom line is that the BYOD culture is here to stay and, inevitably, will become more and more pervasive throughout the industry. But this is exactly why it’s so imperative that stores have a managed BYOD environment to ensure network and data security, as well as to keep operating at peak efficiency.

So, we want to know: is your business leveraging the BYOD trend to increase customer engagement? Is your store capable of supporting a secure BYOD environment? Join our LinkedIn group to share your ideas or chat with other industry experts about what it takes to be a Level 10 in the retail IT industry! We’re always online, so if you’d rather just stay up-to-date on the latest developments in retail/hospitality technology, you can connect with and like us on Facebook.