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How Blackstone is finding BYOD success with BYOA(pple)

Joan Goodchild | March 5, 2013
Among the 1800 Blackstone employees in 24 offices worldwide, there are currently 600 privately-owned iPads being used for work.


There is digital rights management (DRM) built into the document. Through the WatchDox viewer you can read all of these very sensitive documents for both internal and external business purposes. But if someone lost the device, or tried to forward the document, it would be useless outside of a permissions-set of specific folks.

As of now, you are only allowing Apply devices as part of you BYOD policy?

Yes, I guess you could say we have a BYOAD (Bring Your Own Apple Device) policy, or a Bring Your Own iOS Device policy.

Currently, our set of users are primarily interested in Apple devices. I'm not saying that might not change if someone comes up with something better. But, for now, it's clearly the market leader and is easier for us to support a single set of devices. So we've capped it at that and not delved into the Android realm. We've looked at the Windows devices and we don't feel like we are at a point where we need to support that yet either.

Was it simply user demand and interest, or were there other reasons you decided things would be strictly BYOA?

It came down to the expectations of our users for support. And maintenance is high. In order to provide that level of support, there are limitations. That's the trade off.

If you have a low support culture where it is fend for yourself and no support for devices, then BYOD works well. But if you have a high-touch, white-glove maintenance model, BYOD puts a significant strain on your resources because of the proliferation of different problems on different operating systems.

How long do you anticipate you'll remain with just Apple devices allowed in your organization?

It all depends on the devices. If there is something truly better, we will move to it, or allow it in addition.

We are constantly combing and listening and staying on top of what is truly interesting, but we have not had a ground swell of need for other devices.

So, no demand among employees? No one showing up in your office asking to use something other than an iPad?

Right. We basically said you can have a Blackberry supported by us or you can get an iPad. Other than that, you're stuck.

What is the feedback of employees?

So far, so good. They really enjoy the convenience of WatchDox and being able to have their documents with them all the time. A lot of them don't really understand how secure it is. And I think that is key in driving adoption of technology. Everyone usually believes security is a tax on usability. Being able to have a secure product that is also usable allows the security to recede into the background -- and makes my head of security happy with it, too.


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