Peter Williams, IT Infrastructure Manager at Daisy, talks about the difficulties IT departments are facing when trying to find a balance between security and flexibility.
There’s so much talk in the industry at the moment about opening the doors to a flexible and more productive workforce that IT departments can often get blinded by the plethora of opportunities available to them.
However, while trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) have the ability to transform the way a business operates they, like any other technology craze, need to be treated with some caution. Security obviously needs to be the key consideration when it comes to allowing employees to use their personal devices in the workplace.
The majority of CIOs are finding themselves in a difficult position, searching for the perfect balance between convenience and compliance with security protocols. And as more mobile and personal devices hit the market, the problem is only getting more difficult.
The benefits of BYOD are obvious; increased mobility, efficiency, productivity and improved staff satisfaction. However, giving away control as a human trait is extremely difficult, especially in this case if it can seriously damage a business’ future. Heads of IT departments ultimately have a responsibility to ensure the security and smooth running of critical systems; so allowing employees to introduce their own devices is a potentially risky strategy.
Finding the balance
Lots of CIOs have invested time and money searching for the perfect balance, throwing their respective budgets at mobile security applications in the hope of solving the problem. However, research released by Gartner has suggested that by 2016 approximately 20% of businesses will have ultimately failed to find the balance. Hardly encouraging news!
The report identified that all this additional security can cause a bigger problem for employees who believe or even expect that their IT departments will have the ability to access their personal information once their mobile devices are brought under their employer’s MDM strategy.
This has meant employees have become hesitant in giving access to personal devices and have asked for solutions that isolate personal content from business data. The report also states that employees want to restrict the ability IT departments have to access or change personal content and applications.
To make it even harder, 15% of mobile device users store their password details – personal and business – on their smartphones and one in three don’t use a PIN or password to safeguard access to their devices.
With so much choice on the market, including tablets, smartphones, operating systems and platforms, it’s no surprise that many IT heads find themselves asking ‘how can we control this?’
It doesn’t matter if a single device is brought into the office and configured onto the system, or hundreds as part of the proper BYOD scheme; personal devices in a working environment present a threat if not managed properly.
Maybe the answer is embracing the choose-your-own-device (CYOD) trend, ensuring CIOs at least maintain some form of control?
I’ll save that question for another time?