Enterprise mobility managers are grappling with equivalent of a speeding train bearing down on them that they’re, frankly, nearly powerless to stop.  It’s called the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) phenomenon, and it is happening whether you want it to or not.

In fact, a recent InformationWeek survey revealed that 65 percent of companies expect an increase in employee-owned devices accessing business resources.  So: what to do?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Here are five tips on how your IT department can prepare for the BYOD revolution.

1.  Determine Your Groups

First things first: determine the different groups of mobility users at your company. Organizations are diverse and you should align your mobility policies accordingly. I’ll bet my bow-tie that your C-suite is using the latest-model smartphones, 3G enabled iPads, and probably have a mobile hotspot or wireless card rattling around in their laptop bag, too.  Is this the same mobility package you want to give your support associates?  Nahhh, didn’t think so.

There’s a broad spectrum of use-case scenarios in your organizations — your sales team needs unlimited voice and international roaming; your IT grunts have good reason to pull immense amounts of data down onto their smartphones; your executive assistant uses her personal Blackberry for so much business-related work, it seems wrong not to pick up her cell phone tab.

Break your organization into five-to-10 manageable chunks and assign different allowances and policies to each of these groups. Your mobility groups, once instituted, will make managing BYOD policies and plans a breeze.

2.  Decide Who’s Footing the Bill

Are you paying for every cent of your employee’s phones, tablets, unlimited data or holiday edition of Angry Birds? Are you going to reimburse a certain percentage of a user’s bill?  This is a question that goes back to mobility groups because you’re likely going to make different decisions for different groups.

Once you’ve decided who’s paying for what, you need to closely monitor each user’s consumption against that budget.

3.  Create and Communicate Policies

Will you pay for your employee’s downloaded games? Can they download sensitive information from Dropbox onto their iPhone? Can they call Uncle Pablo on his 87th birthday in Belize?  Can they talk and text on the phone while driving?  (You should actually be seriously concerned about that one.)  Creating policies that legally protect the company and establish clear direction for how employees can use their company subsidized smartphone will create an atmosphere of accountability.

4.  Set the Rules and Enforce Them

Some mobile operating systems have pretty significant security flaws.  In fact, there’s been a recent rash of botnets floating around the largest mobile ecosystem, Android.  While you can welcome your employees to pick their phone, you may need to insist on a certain OS type or version.  There are many ways of getting inside users’ phones to determine which operating systems your companies are using en masse.

What do you do if an employee leaves the organization or loses their phone?  This is a tricky policy to establish, but if you’re running on a Blackberry Enterprise Server or have access to Microsoft ActiveSync (which you probably do) you can wipe the data on pretty much any device when the need arises.  This is certainly not a feature you should pay for, but you should have a plan in place so you can act quickly to protect company data.

5.  Monitor. Monitor. Monitor.

Bob Parsons is quoted as saying, “Anything that’s measured and watched improves,” and it’s certainly true of your mobility program.  BYOD has some great benefits — namely increased employee productivity and happiness, but it also requires constant vigilance.  Allowing your employees to bring their own devices into the work place opens your business to a wider range of billing structures, security vulnerabilities, and device management woes.  None of these things should be too worrisome to you if you’re proactive with your monitoring.

Most humans can’t stop speeding trains in their tracks, and it’s probably unwise to try to stop or even forestall the BYOD phenomenon. By accepting reality, adapting quickly and intelligently, and getting organized, you should be able to minimize or avoid the disruption to your IT operations that might otherwise occur.

Which is a little like leaping tall buildings in a single bound. That’s pretty heroic, right?