by Edward Qualtrough

Beware bringing your own disaster, warns G4S CIO

May 04, 20143 mins
MobileSecurity SoftwareSmall and Medium Business

G4S Risk Management CIO Tim Grieveson warned you could end up “bringing your own disaster” if a technology executive does not thoroughly think through the pitfalls of their mobility strategy going awry.

Grieveson, who oversees 11,000 people – a number of whom are ex-special forces working in hostile environments like Iraq and Afghanistan – was speaking at a CIO UK community event when he quipped about the worst-case scenarios of G4S Risk Management staff being careless with data and devices in their unique work setting.

“Mobility is incredibly important, but it’s not about the device. It’s about the data and accessing it on the right device, at the right place and at the right time,” Grieveson said.

“You can absolutely have a consumer device, but with it you are going to get consumer support.

“People talk about BYOD or ‘choose-your-own-device’ – but I call BYOD ‘bring-your-own-disaster’ if you haven’t thought about the fallout of that going wrong.”

However, Grieveson said that in his arm of G4S, which could be transporting high value assets in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether that be people, vehicles or sensitive information, he was trying to take a device-agnostic approach to mobility.

“Traditionally in the security industry we’ve been very good at saying no,” he said.

Grieveson believed that this was the sort of attitude that could lead to the procurement of shadow IT at an organisation.

He said: “Why does shadow IT develop? It’s because they’ve been to the IT department and the IT department said ‘no’.

“There has to be a cultural shift in the ecosystem of the organisation.

“Now we look at the way to enable the device, rather than disable it. A lot of our people former special forces; they can strip an automatic weapon but might not be as good with technology, so they need a device that works when and how they want it to.”

While the device itself was less of an issue for Grieveson, who emptied his pockets to reveal an iPad, iPhone, Windows 8.1 device, BlackBerry Z10 and Android smartphone – bandwidth and connectivity was more of a concern.

“My issue is less about the device and more about power and bandwidth when you look at the environments my people are working in.

“There is very low bandwidth in lots of countries we are working in, like Sudan.

“But I also have more problems getting broadband in Hereford than Iraq,” Grieveson quipped.

Also the chief information security officer at the organisation, Grieveson announced that he would be involved in a new messaging and mobility programme working across all of the G4S arms. He said that this would touch 50,000 users, from security guards looking after an event, to its the cash machine operators.

“At the moment we are a load of fiefdoms, but we’re looking to roll out the Risk Management way out across the group globally,” he said.