‘Dual Persona’ Features Tame the BYOD Beast

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Monsters have always provided an interesting vehicle for novelists looking to explore the duality of human nature. In works such as “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” and perhaps most famously, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” the authors represent this duality as a battle between our good and evil sides.

While all of us have contrasting personality characteristics, they usually aren’t so dark. However, most of us have a very keen interest in keeping our work life separate from our personal life even though the lines between those two sides are becoming increasingly blurred in the always-on workplace.

Mobile, cloud and collaborative technologies have dramatically changed both the way we work and the workplace itself. In fact, the idea of being “at work” has become a rather squishy concept — that smartphone in your pocket means you can be “in the office” even if you’re physically at an all-night zombie film festival.

Unified communications (UC) platforms have evolved elegantly to help us keep our work lives and personal lives separated without having to lug around multiple devices. “Dual persona” technology enables us to communicate by voice, text or email from a single device while keeping personal calls and contacts completely separate from business calls and contacts.

This division can be achieved through mobile virtualization, in which a hypervisor divides hardware resources among two operating systems. In another approach, users download and install a mobile client to create a work-only “container” that remains separate from the rest of the data and applications on a device.

The ShoreTel Connect mobility app, for instance, ensures that users can get their business communication through a single number at any location, without giving customers and business associates their personal mobile number. Users can easily identify business and personal calls, and effortlessly shift back and forth between personas. Organizations maintain greater control over customer lists and contacts.

In addition, the ShoreTel Connect mobility app puts all the features available on a desk phone — presence, instant messaging, video conferencing and more — on popular smartphones and tablets. The “Today” screen shows scheduled conference calls with a simple “Join” button for connecting immediately. Least-cost routing uses the cheapest available path for cellular calls, while robust authentication and encryption features keep enterprise communications secure.

Dual persona technology arose in response to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. While acknowledging the value of allowing employees to choose the device they need for peak efficiency, organizations have also had to recognize the risk of having work and personal data existing on the same device. Dual persona technology enables a level of organizational control without becoming too intrusive.

The technology is particularly effective in data protection when used in conjunction with mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) tools. IT can enforce security policies across all business applications and data without interfering with the user’s personal information.

By securely extending UC applications to multiple devices while allowing employees to distinguish between personal and business communications, dual persona technology helps companies create a more engaged, connected and responsive workforce. In today’s “follow the sun” global economy in which business overlaps time zones, anything less would be scary.