In Depth: Digital Backpack

I posted a story about Digital Backpack a few weeks ago. Their idea is that they have a secure way to share corporate info in an easy to manage way that doesn’t require the company to actually take control of the device. To understand why I think this is such a big deal, let me explain the business need.

More and more companies are employing a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy when it comes to smartphones and tablets. It sounds like a good idea until you consider the fact that in most cases the company has to take partial or complete control of the device in question. That opens up a pile of privacy, security, and legal issues. This article describes most of them, and if you’re in charge of a BYOD strategy, you should be concerned.

Not only that, what if the employees bring in different devices? After all, some are going to like the latest Android device and Apple will have the hearts of and minds of some users with iOS based devices. That’s a management circus waiting to happen.

Now the question becomes, how do you support a BYOD policy without opening up a legal minefield? Or using multiple tools to manage them?

The solution as described by Digital Backpack’s CEO Mike Sommer is simple. Install an application on the user’s device that acts as a “backpack.” The organization has a web based dashboard that allows you to easily put content into the backpack in a transparent manner to the user. The user then has access to the data that they need when they need it. If the person leaves the organization, the contents of the backpack can easily be deleted. Apps, rich media, PDF’s can all be in the backpack. All of this without having to touch the device in any significant way. Mike was kind enough to give me a demonstration of this late last week and all of this is very easy to do. In fact, you don’t need IT to do any of this. People in individual departments could do this with very little instruction. To top it all off, it’s platform independent. So who cares what device your employees have? They’ll all have the same content.

Here’s a video that illustrates this:

This solution is ideal not only for corporate environments, but for schools as well. Think about it. A teacher could give students their homework assignments via this method and the students couldn’t use the excuse of the dog at my homework.

The application that you install on the smartphone is currently available for Android at the moment and an iOS version is coming. One plus is that Digital Backpack is a small company who is nimble enough to enhance the app to fit the needs of any customer. Plus they’re Canadian, which as frequent readers will know is a plus for me.

So, if you’re looking at implementing a BYOD strategy in your environment, I would highly recommend that you look at Digital Backpack. They have the right idea about how employee owned devices should be handled.

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