Participants of the SingTel CIO Perspectives 2012 roundtable.
The award-winning Mission Hills Golf and Resort in Dongguan District near Shenzhen, China, was the unlikely venue for a thought-provoking discussion for the group of IT chiefs from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Yet, the superb facilities and the ambience of this top-notch business-cum-leisure destination seemed appropriate for the event of the day last June -- the SingTel Greater China CIO Perspectives Roundtable.
The theme for the roundtable was "Balancing Risk with Innovation in Mobility, Disruptive Technologies and the Cloud".
An increasingly mobile workforce, a surging influx of consumer devices at work and the rapid rise of collaboration and social media tools are having a huge impact how business is conducted. While these trends present tremendous challenges for CIOs in data security, customer privacy and legacy integration, there is an undeniably strong tide of user demand to use the devices and tools of their choosing.
After a brief round of self-introductions, the participants settled down to answer the very first question posed by moderator T.C. Seow, editor of CIO Asia, on their views on the disruptive trend brought about by mobility and the so-called "bring your own device" or BYOD practice.
Morris Zhu, IT Director, Corporate IT, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., said: "We have a policy that only authorised users can connect to our corporate networks." In fact, even authorised personnel are not allowed to connect directly to the core networks which understandably are vital for the smooth operation of its assembly lines. Zhu added that the policies were meant to prevent security breaches as well as information leakage.
Alex Wei, CIO, Asia Pacific, MFlex Suzhou Co., Ltd., also concurred that a user policy was important, but he pointed out that the challenge was on how to secure key data. He said: "Our key customers mandate us to control that information that is separate from corporate networks, and the ability to monitor activities such as who retrieve what data, and to limit access to individual workstations and not from their own devices like a laptop computer or mobile device."
Wei added that this policy might not be the best, but certainly, he hoped to prevent information leakage. "A staff member can only view the downloaded information on the machine provided by the company, and changes made to the information can only be saved back into the company server," he added.
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