By Amanda McKeon
The consumerization of IT in organizations can no longer be ignored as employees are taking matters into their own hands and using personal mobile devices for work-related tasks. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the Accenture Institute for High Performance, one in four (27%) employees surveyed worldwide regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work-related activities (54% among IT executives). This puts many companies in an awkward position, needing to decide how exactly to give employees what they want — the ease of mobility to improve productivity — while ensuring security simultaneously; no easy undertaking.
Many companies are implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy as opposed to providing mobile devices for their employees. This creates potential security problems since employees will be using the same device for critical business functions as well as personal tasks such as shopping. So how can companies control the chaos that comes with implementing this policy?
A Special Report sponsored by Hewlett-Packard gives several tips on how to manage employee’s use of personal mobile devices in the workplace, the first of which is end-user education. It is increasingly important to make sure that employees keep security up to date and can recognize signs of an infected device. The HP report also recommends keeping a detailed inventory of all authorized devices and installing remote “kill” capabilities so administrators can wipe potentially risky data if the device is lost or stolen.
Another option companies can choose is taking a managed-adoption approach when dealing with the consumerization of IT. Accenture points out four possible tactics:
- Broadening the scope of allowable devices and applications
- Promoting technology choice
- Proactively advocating consumer technologies
- Segmenting consumer IT needs by role
Jeanne Harris, executive research fellow and senior executive at the Accenture Institute for High Performance says “IT consumerization will be one of the biggest tests for organizations in the next five years, but resisting it is simply not an option and is tantamount to capitulation. A good first step is to learn just how extensively consumer IT has embedded itself into your workforce: Consider how to manage the risks and opportunities, and experiment with ways to channel employees’ enthusiasm for consumer technology. The goal is to develop pragmatic strategies regarding consumer IT that will attract the best employees and make the company more competitive in the marketplace while protecting enterprise information.”
For more information on the consumerization of IT, read “Business Value Unwired — The Key to Mob
ile Success” by Oliver Betz of SAP in the January – March issue of SAPinsider.