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back to article BYOD cheers up staff, boosts productivity - and IT bosses hate it

Costs, security headaches and battles to get different technologies working with each other are stalling Bring-Your-Own-Device schemes in UK offices, according to new figures. In an Insight poll of 232 IT managers in Blighty, 79 per cent said they aren't implementing strategies to allow employees to buy their own kit for both …

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Just waiting for the day when someone with a grudge helps a co-worker install a dodgy copy of Office and then snitches on their employer to the BSA.

Logic would suggest that the employer shouldn't be liable for licensing of BYOD kit, but when has logic ever played a part for the BSA et al?

I'm not against BYOD as long as it can be effectively managed to ensure compliance with whatever local security policies are in place. It's not impossible to do this with a lot of devices, but that doesn't mean it would benefit from further simplification.

I'd still rather people were using work provisioned kit. Certainly in past employment there were elements of the network that BYOD kit (had the trend existed then) would never have been allowed near due to a near paranoid level of security.

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jai
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VM the solution?

I was thinking about this - would it not be possible for the employer to provide a VM image which contains a locked down environment that only contains licensed software and only connects to the office network and is also ringfenced from the laptop it is running on. That way, you can BYOD, but it stops any garbage you've installed on it yourself from accessing the office network or corrupting work files. And also could be set up to prevent people moving files out of the VM environment? And at the worst case, the employer could remote wipe the VM image or re-deploy a clean image, saving the effort of troubleshooting (because all work documents should be being stored on office network anyway).

Or are these the kind of things that they're talking about in the article when they say the tools are likely on the way in the near future?

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Happy

Re: VM the solution?

Yep, that's Microsoft's idea too. Win8 To Go explicitly supports this, providing USB3-bootable Windows images which can be domain bound and configured to allow no access to local storage media, meaning that the worker gets to use their hardware but doesn't get to inflict their OS install (or dodgy media) on the corporate network.

Of course, those who really want BYOD won't like that, because it's adhering to the letter of their request ("Let me use my computer for work") while vetoing the spirit of the request ("let me use my computer, including my badly-configured OS with loads of dodgy installs, out of date plugins, and dodgily-sourced media, for work purposes").

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Anonymous Coward

Re: VM the solution?

That would be my point. If I wanted to go down the BYOD route, it would be so I didn't have to use Windows. Running Windows in a VM doesn't help with that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: VM the solution?

"to provide a VM image which contains a locked down environment that only contains licensed software and only connects to the office network and is also ringfenced from the laptop it is running on."

Nice idea, doesn't work though. General rule is that you can't consider a VM inside a non-secure environment trustworthy.

The other way around, though (non-trusted VM in a trusted environment) would be a possibility.

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Re: VM the solution?

It's the other way round. Anyone who opens their corporate network and allows any old malware-infected device to be connected, deserves everything they get (which will be a lot of pain). What I'm happy to do is provide a secure WLAN unconnected to the corporate network with only Internet access (probably filtered to block nasty and/or time-wasting stuff). From there (or from your roaming portable device, or from an Internet café) you can access a virtual (Citrix) image of your corporate workspace. Enjoy!

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Mushroom

Re: VM the solution?

"If I wanted to go down the BYOD route, it would be so I didn't have to use Windows."

But you are in the minority. Most of the peasantry that want to BTOD want to do so not for religious or technical reasons, but because (pay attention IT dictators) the stuff that they are provided with as standard is, not to put too fine a point on it, shit.

Companies happily let barely literate oiks drive company vans emblazoned with the corporate brand, costing £20k full fitted and tooled. Likewise, a £30k perk car for a middle manager is no problem. There is endless money for PITA DSE training. But when it comes to IT, you bastards start handing out dumb phones that normal people wouldn't expect their ten year old to tolerate. Or shite "smart" phones like the Orange San Diego, and real low end HTCs, all of them with crap screens, sluggish responses, and polices including usage restrictions that ban using the camera or music capabilities. Same with PC's. I have to lug a Lenovo brick around with me, loaded with corporate IT "security" bloatware that takes for fucking ever to start or resume from hibernation. It has shit battery life, low res screen, and no redeeming points at all. Cheapy third party docking stations, and keyboards out of a Christmas cracker complete the unhappy picture for the end user. Ooh, sorry, forgot to mention the diabolical cheap, crap mice you lot think adequate.

So, to all those who hate BYOD, I understand and sympathise with WHY you hate BYOD. In your shoes I would. But if you'd stop handing out SHITE, you will alleviate the BYOD pressure. Most of your users are paid many tens of thousands (and the company believe they earn their keep) so what's the big fat hairy deal with dishing out iPhones, Galaxy S3s, or close equivalents? Why can't we have a decent ultrabook with a good battery life and a sharp screen?

It's all in your hands.

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I call shenanigans

"thappy people equals more productive people"

The lazy heifer sitting opposite me on her iphone all day, using Facebook and Drawsomething, has a very enjoyable time at work. Clearly i misunderstand and she is actually being productive. .

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Re: I call shenanigans

Maybe she's not being productive per se. But at least she's not stopping other, actually useful, employees from working. It may be that the best you can hope for with some co-irkers is that the less they do, the less they screw up for others to fix.

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Headmaster

Re: I call shenanigans

"I call shenanigans"

You call shananigans what? George? Ugly? Green? Theobald?

For heavens sake please speak English.

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Happy

Re: Please Speak English

Co-irkers is a rather nice contribution to the language

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Re: Please Speak English

I claim no originality for it. Check out the Dilbert cartoons and books.

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And how

long before employers start saying in job ads

"Must have own smartphone, or tablet with ****** VM client costing £400 installed"

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"BYOD cheers up staff, boosts productivity..."

Not strictly true, is it. That observation only comes from the 21% who have implemented it. 79% would say "haven't got a clue, mate".

It's a stinky idea and I for one do not welcome it.

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FAIL

Responsability

Since I am on the firing line when things go wrong, there will never be BYOD in our offices.

Why would employees be any happier using their own device anyway, they are supposed to be working. Whether I am using my own personal laptop or a company workstation makes no damned difference. Or is it just so that they can do FB, or some other social twatnet applications during the working hours without the IT Department blocking them out.

Also when an employee has a P2P client and illegal files/downloads, illegal porn, Viruses, Snuff movies on his laptop in my network, then I suddenly become partly reponsable for whats on that device, NO THANKS. All that needs to happen is that that user switches on file sharing and one other muppet downloads it across my Wifi/Lan, it can then be considered as having been made availble on my network, therefore company liability.

Legally this will become a living nightmare.

We provide material that has been validated and capable of running the software that our users require on a daily basis, we simply have no need/reason for BYOD.

Personal devices should remain just that, personal.....

This whole BYOD thing just stinks of marketing busllshit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Responsability

"Why would employees be any happier using their own device anyway"

Because IT buyers don't spend with users in mind, they buy whatever has the best kickbacks. For example, Windows Phone shite they tried to offload onto us.

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IT Angle

Re: Responsability

'Since I am on the firing line when things go wrong, there will never be BYOD in our offices.'

That's the winning attitude employees expect from I fucking T. I put it to you that you just can't be fucked working out a solution to BYOD security implications? You'd be happier if computers were banned in your office wholesale.

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Re: Responsability

My responsibility is first towards my employer, he is the one that puts money into my bank account every month without fail. In fact my employer keeps everyone in my company in work and that should never be forgotten.

Secondly I must ensure that my colleagues have the most efficient equipment that is capable of helping then do the job they do, I know their job very well and as such i know the correct equipment to buy. I ensure that ALL of their equipment has the best standard that the budget allows. I would rather spend more on a good keyboard and a mouse than the latest I7 for which they would never use even 10% of its power.

I also have to ensure the security, failure in security will create problems for our clients, therefore security is also taken seriously. BYOD does not provide any benefit for my colleagues, but it can present an unnecessary risk for the company. My company do not like taking risks, they pride themselves on ensuring a 24h/365day service for our clients.

I work very closely with my colleagues and ensure that that IT is not a burden, I explain why a tight secure system helps them remain in work, they also understand and accept why Facebook, Youtube et al are on a blacklist.

Our company is successful , we have good clients and we try and try to do things professionally.

The first thing that I note about your response was your attitude, and it is the kind of attitude that most companies can live without.

IT is a lot more than playing with the latest gadgets. The bleeding edge is where most of the heroes start, the cemetery is where they end up.

.

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Re: Responsability

@ A/C 101

That's the winning attitude employees expect from I fucking T. I put it to you that you just can't be fucked working out a solution to BYOD security implications? You'd be happier if computers were banned in your office wholesale.

Based on your attitude, I think you might be on the wrong site mate..... just saying

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Responsability (sic)

As opposed to what, letting them bring whatever then being completely unable to help them when it doesn't work?

I've seen the result of BYOD-type exercises in other scenarios and it's very ugly when the kit they bring either doesn't work at all or is completely unsuitable.

For an IT example, imagine a tech writer bringing an iPad and wanting to write all their work on that.

Without a keyboard.

Is the employer liable for the inevitable RSI?

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OFFS!!

Better get some goggles for your nippers. Never know, they might play conkers...

PS Who would you sue?

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FAIL

Re: Responsability (sic)

Wow, Mr Greatorex managed to slip penis size into a topic concerning BYOD. That actually says quite a lot about the author.

And until you have visited my company and learned from first hand experience that what I have said is the truth or not, just shut the fuck up. If you know for fact that what I said is not the truth then please explain to the audience how you managed to acquire that information because I am quite positive that we don't work in the same town nor the same country.

Quelle idiot.

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Re: Responsability (sic)

No, you don't, you Prawnus Maximus. You find the slightest excuse to _not_ work with your colleagues, you delight in denying (small penis probably) your colleagues any change that would improve their productivity, environment, happiness at work etc.

Curious to know what you think IT are there for?

Improving Productivity and environment, sure, to some extent. Happiness? No, if anything that's down to the happy-clappy's in Human Resources to worry about. IT deals in resources, not emotions.

And ultimately the contract is with the employer, therefore the responsibility is to the employer. The employer may have delegated responsibility in some areas (such as providing/provisioning/supporting equipment with an eye to increasing productivity) but it's about making business decisions based on what the entire business needs, not just one user.

I've seen department's that use 'User satisfaction surveys' to try and achieve a balance. But you know what, they're often completely pointless. User's either want something that is outside of budgetary constraints, or don't bother to fill the survey out at all (I used to fall in the second group when I was a lowly user).

If you want to use your own device, that's great. Ultimately it's one less machine the business needs to provision, but it's the IT Dept's job to ensure that it isn't going to cause harm to the business. That means ensuring you aren't going to introduce malware, aren't going to absorb all the bandwidth playing CoD etc.

I'm not convinced IT needs to worry about whether you're going to spend all day on Facebook mind.

The point, though, is sometimes the administrative cost of this is far higher than saying "here's your work issued PC/laptop". It's got nothing to do with delight, hell really it'd be nice to be able to give an answer that doesn't lead to pissed off users phoning/emailing.

I remember when we toughened our removable media policies to comply with some new guidelines that our business had to adhere to. No USB sticks except company issued encrypted ones (nothing else would work, would email us though) and no optical write. Man there were some pissed users, but despite appearances it wasn't an IT decision, it was what had to be done.

There does seem to be a certain class of user who believe that work should be convenient to them. Sometimes that's not how it works, and it doesn't matter which department makes the decision the end result is the same.

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Joke

Re: Responsability (sic)

@Khaptain

I suspect the logic is that you work in IT and therefore must

a) only make decisions to suit yourself

b) generally be an arsehole

c) lie about the reasons for a and b

d) be unable to get laid (presumably because of the alleged small penis)

Funny, as much as I'd love to condemn the serious use of stereotypes, I do have a particular one in mind for this particular user. I also know of a guy called Simon who I suspect would love to meet him once the batteries are charged

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Happy

Re: Responsability (sic)

@Ben

You nailed me perfectly..... lol..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Responsability

"Since I ..." shows in 2 words what is wrong with your justification.

Your are not there to serve your interests but those of business and the users. IT is not a end, but a means.

If I as the user create more value for company using a BozoPad on my FanPhone, then I challenge IT to make this happen.

Example of BYOD lowering costs from the real-world: world-wide sales team work on devices of their choosing, software either provided by Corp. when bulk purchases make sense or individually expensed (OpenOffice, MS Office, Apple Pages, you choose). Corp IT only provides a vendor-neutral, standards compliant back-end for all clients to be able to connect (IMAP, POP3, and the like). Local IT Support (my laptop is broken, how do I configure X?) is done by local IT shops (think Apple Genius bars, and the like).

That gives you staff who can get support 24x7 in almost any city in the world, caring about "their" computers, and enjoying how they work. That's 300 odd employees scattered around the globe supported by 2 IT people. And everybody is happy.

Reading your post has me thinking of the Corp. IT issued laptops that run outdated software (XP with IE6 anyone? Outdated Flash or Java...), field staff that are crippled because they are not admin (need to add a local printer, sorry, only admin gets to install the fancy driver). The web is filtered to protect staff from the likes of WebEx. IT Support are either a help desk of a dozen low qualified interns, or asleep when you call at 3 in the morning.

Sorry, BYOD is not a fad.

You can either fight it and resist until you are obsolete, or adapt and become a leader that gives your business the edge. The technology is ready - what needs work are the internal application policies that are compatible with law and the users' expectations.

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FAIL

Re: Responsability

Your are not there to serve your interests but those of business and the users. IT is not a end, but a means.

If I as the user create more value for company using a BozoPad on my FanPhone, then I challenge IT to make this happen.

Bang on the nail, and in that situation you'd be correct. However, what IT also has to assess is the cost/benefit of BYOD versus the more traditional methods. If the extra measure that need to be put in place are going to cost more than the bigger bosses will authorise, then it ain't going to happen without a very good case being put forward - and "The users will be more productive on their own kit" does not make a strong business case.

Some businesses, BYOD works really well. Other's it doesn't. What some users seem to miss is that different businesses are, well, different. Just because it works for Company A, doesn't mean you in Company B are entitled to the same. Conversely it not working for Company B doesn't mean it can't work for Company A.

The web is filtered to protect staff from the likes of WebEx

Of course the web is filtered, you're on a work connection. The business wants to keep malware of it's network, and most will take steps to block 'offensive' content too. It's called being in the workplace.

field staff that are crippled because they are not admin

Only give users the privileges they need regularly. That's security 101 for fuck sake.

Did you perhaps get to use a PC in the summer holidays? Because you seem to know fuck all about security in a corporate environment. Hell the only reason I'm bothering to respond is because I'm an Insomniac so have a good proportion (if not all) of the night to waste

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Re: Responsability

Corp IT only provides a vendor-neutral, standards compliant back-end for all clients to be able to connect (IMAP, POP3, and the like).

Incidentally, companies have had this for years before BYOD even came up. It's not external connections in that are a problem, you can filter them to hell, restrict what they can access on the server etc.

It's when users want to plug their malware infested devices into the LAN or connect to the WLAN that's the issue with BYOD from a basic security PoV. Unless, of course, you think running a VLAN for each client is fun.

Reading your post has me thinking of the Corp. IT issued laptops that run outdated software (XP with IE6 anyone? Outdated Flash or Java...)

That does suck, no disagreement there. On the other hand, it is a work computer and if the business has decided IE6 is all you need then that's what you get. You should of course raise hell about it where IE6 is involved.

The web is filtered to protect staff from the likes of WebEx. IT Support are either a help desk of a dozen low qualified interns, or asleep when you call at 3 in the morning.

Budgets are often cut, perhaps if the helpdesk had a few less qualifications between them IT could afford to buy you the Alien laptop you'd prefer. Of course, the support would be worse, but you'd have better kit. Addressing a balance can be difficult, and very few businesses get it quite right.

The technology is ready - what needs work are the internal application policies that are compatible with law and the users' expectations.

Sorry but user expectations don't factor in, business needs do (and that includes the law and regulatory compliance). Users' expectations don't take into account things like law, budgets, scope for expansion, ongoing support costs, licensing costs etc. Nor should they have to, it's not their job.

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Re: Responsability

When the demand for BYOD comes from down below, that is easy to enforce, but what happens when the demand comes from UP TOP and over your head?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Curious to know what you think IT are there for?

Licking his arse, by the sound of it, so probably that's why he is so upset --- because they don't.

As an IT manager (retired) I always thought my responsibility was to the users, because without them I wouldn't have a job, and fulfilling that responsibility was what my employer expected of me. Mind you, that did not include satisfying every whim, ego inflating, arse licking, etc.

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K
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Megaphone

Re: Responsability

You sir are a whinge bag!

If you want to use your own device, do your own f*cking research on how to secure it, then demonstrate to me its sufficient... Chances are your company supplies adequate hardware for you to do your job in a productive secure manner, just because your a FANBOI, doesn't give you the right to scream and stomp.

WAHHHH WAAHHHHH WAHHH BABY WANTS HIS IPHONE!!

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Re: Responsability

If you are only looking after workers who run a clearly defined set of software in the office only then I suppose your plan might work.

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Re: Responsability (sic)

How dare users think that work should be convenient? If work was convenient, they might start doing more of it, and doing it better, and we can't have that, can we?

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Re: Responsability

Maybe, but he's right. IT = people telling me how to do my job, and saying no to common sense because of "policies", or - whisper it - because there's job-security in complexity. BYOD is a reaction to exactly this kind of nonsense. Embrace it, or get crushed by it.

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Re: Responsability

@AC 22:48

There's a crucial point you've missed here that undermines your logic.

IF I as the user create more value for company using a BozoPad on my FanPhone, then I challenge IT to make this happen.

Where's your statistically validated proof that you are in fact creating more value for the company by using a BozoPad on your FanPhone? Because, in the absence of any evidence, I'd say it's equally possible that when using a BozoPad on your FanPhone you're not in fact more productive, you're just putting in more hours working offsite/at home because doing work on your own personal device doesn't really register as being "work" (because since it's a personal device you can switch to a browser to check Facebook/El Reg Forums/Slashdot etc) in the same way.

There are certain fields where workers can in fact be more efficient using their own gear, but without evidence there's no reason to assume that this applies across the board - and given the additional administrative burden that encouraging such use will place on IS/IT (whose role is to facilitate people's revenue generating activities) a healthy skepticism is rarely a bad place to start such evaluations. Don't let that stop you from being an evangelistic retard, though.

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Facepalm

Re: Responsability

"Your are not there to serve your interests but those of business and the users."

No. Both myself and the users are employed to serve the needs of the business.

If you create more value for the company using a BozoPad on your FanPhone, then you should be challenging the business as a whole, not just IT or HR or whatever to make it happen. Because just as its ignorant for people to ignore the potential benefits of BYOD, its equally ignorant to ignore all the potential costs.

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Meh

Re: Responsability

@K "WAHHHH WAAHHHHH WAHHH BABY WANTS HIS IPHONE!!"

Baby wants something that works, not low bid Microsoft crap that's got about as much joy in use as having your teeth paned flat with a rusty file.

The real crybabies are all the middle aged MCSE types who want go back to the 90s and the Windows only world.

Linux or Mac, too many people are out of Microsoft Jail, and don't want back in. The genie is out of the bottle, and the old days are not coming back. Go out to the University and see what your new bosses are using. "The times they are a'changing"

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In a few years...

...we will see this as just a big mistake as desktop PCs.

So what I would recommend people to do is to simply use such devices as "dumb" terminals. For example run Web-services or even VNC/RDP to a local server running the software you need.

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Anonymous Coward

Why does it have to be BYOD,...

why not just offering employees some choice when it comes to their tools? IT departments could offer some range as to what devices they are willing to support, and let employees have some choice. This might bring the increase in employee happiness and productivity while maintaining full control by the IT department over the devices in question.

And often enough it might help if employees wouldn't be presented with technology from yesteryear just because IT couldn't be arsed to make their infrastructure flexible enough for a world where technology changes quickly.

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Re: Why does it have to be BYOD,...

That depends on the actual relative IT competence levels between IT and the user.

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Re: Why does it have to be BYOD,...

I think it also depends on the degree of divergence between what the employee thinks they should have/be able to do with their work-provided tools and what the business has decided they require to fulfil their paid-for function.

There is no constant across all industries for how often a new machine is required for actual work purposes (as in, not the "look at us, we're so up to date we all use the latest iThingies" sales pitch requirement but actual "My job involves doing X in Environment Y and I need a machine less than 2 years old to be able to install and use Environment Y" requirement).

Assuming that "but I want it" is a valid reason for the business to provide it is exactly as silly as assuming that the business can and should just keep on using an IE6 only web portal for some crucial productivity task.

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Re: Why does it have to be BYOD,...

Well what we could learn from this would be to finally switch over to open standards where it doesn't matter what you use, and you can use the best tool for the job and switch tools even if one gets better. However if you have an IE6 only web portal chances are that's harder to do than keeping some Windows XP virtual machine running for the next 50 years or so.

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If Emplyer wants staff to use machines...

They can damn well pay for them.

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Unhappy

Re: If Emplyer wants staff to use machines...

In all the places that I have worked in desktop support that's exactly what they did do. That way only tested, approved software is loaded onto the machines with an extremely complex and time consuming process if anyone wants anything outside the SLA

If people want to BYOD and run it at work then it should be made crystal clear that if anything goes wrong then they pay to clean up the mess, and if that means that a cost centre picks up the bill for a virus outbreak then so be it. That way it might make the budget holders in the company really put their foot down and stamp out this pernicious practice.

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Trollface

"cheers up staff" ... "IT bosses hate it"

Any possible causal link perchance, perhaps Simon might like to comment?

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Security is the key

For BYOD to work, the company has to ensure that company data is kept securely and cannot be misused or lost or exposed to malware on the device.

The only way to come anywhere near the required level of confidentiality and security of company data is through lock-down software on the device that will enforce :-

* Encryption of data.

* Reasonable level of authentication to get access to the device after device lock or power on.

* Automatic device lock after a (short) period of inactivity.

* A whitelist of approved software (no downloading and running of arbitrary 'apps' from the store)

* Monitoring of usage of the device.ngs aren't secure enough for company c

* Ability of company IT to wipe the device in case of compromise.

* Device will be wiped when employee leaves the company.

Without these restrictions, there is a significant risk of exposure of company data. When these restrictions are spelled out, no employee in their right mind would submit to them and no-one would want BYOD.... win-win!!

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@djack

Had my response ready, can't be arsed now. You. Sir; are a Prawnus Maximus....

What a specious argument.

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Re: @djack

Let's accept the superficially plausible bit of specious a minute. What was wrong about what he said?

The only area I can see is that possibly some users might be willing to submit to all those restrictions.

The rest of the post is just sensible security precautions when dealing with sensitive data, or will you not mind when your banking details are left on an iPad on a rush hour train by accident? Most companies deal with data that's sensitive in some form, whether commercially or under the DPA, so steps have to be taken.

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Re: @djack

Djack has basically specified what we find on any Blackberry that is connected to BES with a reasonable security policy applied. Its exactly the scenario applied to our BBs.

We have a short timeout period which is a pain but if you lose your BB you can be pretty much garanteed that it will be locked before anyone has the time to do any damage.

In a corporate environment Djacks specs are an extremely reasonable set of expectations.

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