by Julian Goldsmith

CIOs find little room for personal devices at work

Dec 15, 20113 mins
IT StrategyMobileSecurity Software

Research out from Accenture points to what might amount to a schism between management and employees over bringing your own devices (BYOD) into work.

While employees are enthusiastically embracing the concept, managers appear less positive, fearing the lack of control that goes with allowing staff to choose their own devices to use at work.

The results from Accenture’s research appear to be backed up by responses from UK CIOs.

Accenture’s research, which was conducted with over 4,000 employees across the world found that 45 per cent of employees thought personal devices and software was more useful than the kit their own organisations could provide.

There is a clear indication of the new generation of employees being comfortable and confident with working with computing and communications devices. So much so that they want to take control of the technology they use at work. In the UK, one in three respondents said they were prepared to make their own technology choices for work.

Over one in four employees globally are even prepared to pay for the equipment they use at work.

Conversely, while management almost overwhelmingly accepts the rise in employee engagement that goes with BYOD, only 27 per cent have a structured approach to integrating the practice with corporate systems.

CIO UK readers respond Despite the obvious excitement around using personal devices at work, responses to a call to comment from CIO UK readers indicated there is less willingness to bow to employees desires among managers:

“Right here, we are not allowing use of any personal devices in the corporate environment. We provide a number of web based apps but use controls to prevent data being downloaded to or printed from a non-corporate machine. This is because our primary client is a government department that is highly sensitive to security risks and leaking of personal data,” said Neil Beckingham, director of information services at the Shaw Trust.

“We have used Blackberries for some time (the only smartphone that stands up to security sadly) and people have become quite dependent upon these.”

His thoughts are echoed by the sentiments sent in by Mike Tonkiss, head of IT at Neopost.

He said: “I have raised this with the Neopost board and they are against the deployment of bring your own devices to work at the moment. I think the fact that the company would lose funds if we gave them an allowance to buy their own kit [was a deciding factor]. The concept of them buying it themselves was not considered.”

The contributions from these two UK IT leaders suggest that, although commentators and analysts are lauding the BYOD model, only a few corporates are prepared to grant employees wishes.

Keith Hopkinson, CIO at Genus typifies many approaches, which restrict corporate data from personal devices, but expects this to be opened up in the future

He said “This is a very important area for Genus now and moving forward. Our current policy is that, whilst trying to provide options to use as wide a selection of devices as possible, all company data must remain on company devices. However in the future I see us allowing personal devices with a secure core within them reserved for company applications and data. Our challenge is to decide a migration strategy and timing to get us there.”

Pic: janineomgcc2.0