Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in some organizations requires some manner of end user education to teach new policies, procedures, and technologies. This practice might begin when a company opens the gates to BYOD, then it becomes part of the new employee onboarding process.

Either way, the introduction of BYOD can mandate training for end users as culture, policies, and processes shift. Here are three different perspectives about the role of end user training for BYOD:

BYOD 2.0 includes user education

Yaacov Cohen, CEO of, the developer of mobile, is one of my go to people on BYOD and collaboration topics. He always has fresh insights and opinions and isn’t afraid to share them with me. When I posed the topic of BYOD user education to him at the tail end of our discussion about the stages of mobile content management, Cohen has a more viral about how BYOD than some others. As such, he doesn’t see BYOD training as part of the initial steps for BYOD.

“You don’t need to train people about a revolution, right?” Cohen said.

He positions BYOD user training as part of the second BYOD wave. Cohen and some others call this second phase, BYOD 2.0. In his opinion, it’s when the IT department is trying to catch up to users bringing their personal devices into the office and then want to access corporate resources like email and SharePoint.

“I need to tell you what you can and cannot do with these devices,” Cohen said. He cites examples of Rogue IT personal cloud storage services for storing confidential corporate information as issues that eventually catch up to IT.

“So you have to do training,” Cohen said. “That’s where you need training to say, OK, we have an MDM, and the MDM is going to separate between your personal stuff and business stuff.”

BYOD user education extends from classroom training to self support

David Applebaum, senior vice president of Moka5, and I had a chance to speak about BYOD user education when I interviewed him for Avoid using a one-size-fits-all BYOD security policy and How to avoid draining IT resources for BYOD support.

His company, Moka5, does get involved with some customer training. He sees training supporting both the technology changes and policy shifts that come with BYOD.

“You are essentially making a contract with your employees that you’ll let them have cool toys and in return you have a responsibility for the management and security, upkeep and what not,” Applebaum said.

Applebaum told me that based on Moka5’s experience, organizations need to do three things:

  • Conduct in person training sessions where you have somebody walk end users through how the added security works on their personal devices. The training should also include device provisioning and basic steps for user management, container security, and what the boundaries are between their personal device and corporate security. For users who don’t have experience using a secure container on their mobile device, the training should include basic activities within a secure container including choosing a printer and the changing settings.
  • Follow up the training with hardcopy procedural documentation of what was included during the classroom training. The users can refer back to the documentation to reinforce what was taught during BYOD training. The documentation can also help deflect calls to your help desk.
  • Publish a series of videos that reinforces the BYOD classroom training, but also offers additional insight into how the security product (s) work. For example, his company’s videos offer further insights into Moka5 products. An organization could grow this video library into another reference for their existing BYOD users. The same library can also help onboard new employees joining the organization after the initial classroom-based BYOD training.

“The last thing we recommend but again it’s really up to the organization is to try to make it an ongoing user community whether it’s a virtual or in person user community,” Applebaum said. “Much like there used to be a lot of software user groups inside of companies, we try to and get that kind of spirit back to get folks talking amongst themselves. Sharing tips. Sharing experiences.”

The combination of BYOD training and user community that Applebaum and Moka5 espouse is to build out the largest possible support pool for the organization making the move into BYOD.

“People can help solve their own problems via the community,” Applebaum said.

BYOD training for non-technical users

I respect the experience, insight, and passion that David and Yaacov bring to the table and can’t resist tossing in my own opinion on the subject. Personally, I’m a strong proponent of BYOD user education because of the sometimes forgotten end users – the people where a smartphone is for making phone calls and maybe sending and receiving text messages.

So much BYOD writing to date seems to miss the office worker where technology is for work or minor tasks only. The user can be great at their job, but they don’t have curiosity and passion early adopters and users that are more technical have for gadgets. They don’t download the latest apps or even know what version of Android runs on the smartphone they bought because it was the cheapest one from their carrier or was on sale at Best Buy.

I used to encounter these types of users frequently in my work as a contract technical writer in the federal and commercial sectors. They had solid experience in their jobs but were far from technologists and reflect on how BYOD might impact them.

My advocacy for BYOD training is for those users so they understand the following:

  • How Mobile Device Management may impact the new smartphone or tablet, they got for Christmas.
  • Employer expectations for maintaining (or should I say spring cleaning) their personal mobile devices for security reasons.
  • Processes for being reimbursed for mobile device expenses including their monthly minutes, text messages, and data.


The three opinions in this article show the needs for BYOD training are as variable as BYOD initiatives themselves. When planning out your BYOD initiative, user education needs to be tailored to your end user community so you need to find the right level of training that meets the needs if your users.

Then again, if BYOD caught on virally within your organization, time spent on end user training can help communicate much needed security policies, procedures, and shore up security gaps between your existing BYOD users and corporate enterprise resources.