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A balanced BYOD policy is better all round

Nick Booth | Nov. 28, 2012
The addiction for tablets has gone right to the head of many organisations, with even hard-headed CEOs of global corporations falling for the style and convenience of tablet computing.

Aside from raising their game on touch and user experience, Intel-based Windows tablet and smartphones could tighten up security controls with a new range of options. Lost devices could in future be stunned from the bootup process, the chipset paralysed by a remote command that would effectively turn any device into a brick. Anti-theft support developed by Intel will offer CIOs a more subtle range of options, says Sheppard. You could become a lot more selective about what you delete from a tablet, so that a departing employee wouldn't have to have their entire personal life deleted. Deep Defender technology, loaded at sub-operating system level, will identify destructive and dangerous behaviour a lot earlier too.

According to Andy Dancer, CTO at Trend Micro, the IT department's baseline security should be a combination of encryption, device partitioning and remote wiping, with users encouraged to back up personal information.

In future, promises Dancer, encryption will become part of the operating system, which will make enforcing company policy a lot easier.

Risking user revolt

The big danger is that the user experience will change, and that is when you lose the goodwill of the users. "Consumerisation and Apple's dominance of the tablet market should have taught us that user experience is everything. If we try to take the user backwards to a less optimal experience then I think they will look to find ways round it," warns Dancer.

Partitioning, while it is a logical solution, fails this usability test. Creating two devices in one, on the same hardware, means the user has to think which one they're in - which inevitably means some work will be done in the wrong part of the device. By definition it won't be easy to move your work from one device partition to the other, so there will be corporate information in the wrong place over which the company will have no control.

Education is essential for a successful mobile usage policy, says Christopher Davies, employment lawyer at national law firm Gateley. The problem is that few people understand that the content of their phone is the company's intellectual property.

"Employees' gadgets remain their property, but anything created on them for work purposes belongs to the company. That may sound obvious, but, if it is not clearly set out in a policy document it may lead to later disputes," says Davies.

You need to communicate, in as friendly a way as possible via presentations, awareness events of even by making a short film, the concept that any information created at work for work, whether documents, photos, notes or similar content, becomes the intellectual property of the company.

Mark Webber, a partner and head of technology at law firm Osborne Clarke, which specialises in advising digital businesses, has some pointers for devising policy.

 

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