BYOD 'a privilege, not a right': Fairfax

Fairfax, Toyota and ACMA provide optional bring your own device

Fairfax, Toyota and an Australian government agency described limited bring-your-own-device (BYOD) rollouts in a panel at the CeBIT Enterprise Mobility conference in Sydney.

The officials stressed that providing employees with mobility—through either BYOD or enterprise-supplied devices—drives productivity and can reduce risk.

Fairfax Media views BYOD “as a privilege, not a right”, said CIO, Andrew Lam-Po-Tang. “If [workers] need workforce mobility for their role, of course we will fully support them and buy them gear.”

However, providing BYOD has reduced costs for Fairfax, which faces “tremendous cost pressure” in a tough environment for the media industry, he said. The cost of BYOD is “minimal” because user-owned devices are “completely unsupported” by the business, he said.

Toyota Australia has a mobile strategy in which the business provides devices to executives and other employees who the company determines require smartphones or tablets to do their job. The company provides all other workers with the option to do BYOD.

“If we think you need a device as part of your job role, we will give you one, we will pay for it, we will support it, we’ll own it, we’ll control it,” said Toyota Australia corporate manager, Ellis Brover. “If we don’t think you need one, you’re very welcome to bring in your own iPhone or iPad and subscribe to our BYOD program.”

Similarly, at the Australian Communications and Media Authority, “if the agency requires you to have a phone for your job ... you will be issued one”, said ACMA CIO, Karl Maftoum. However, the agency also allows employees to bring in their own iOS device. Most of these BYOD devices are iPads, he said.

Increased mobility results in increased productivity, the panellists said.

“People get frustrated with their lack of ability to choose where they’re working and choose when they’re working,” said Lam-Po-Tang. Employees are also happier to work on their preferred device, which is frequently more powerful than anything the business can provide, he said.

While some organisations avoid mobility due to fears about security, some of the panellists said they believe they have actually reduced risk for the business.

“You can stick your head in the sand and say, ‘No, there’s risk in rolling out mobility—I’m not going to do it,’ but you’re actually going to face higher risks by doing that because your users will find ways around your lack of service provision,” said Brover.

“They’ll find a way of doing what they want to do, and those ways will be a lot riskier than the ones you consciously take by rolling out an IT supported and designed solution.”

To reduce support costs for BYOD devices, Servcorp CTO Daniel Kukucka said his business provides “best-effort support” so that the business can decline support for overly complex problems.

Maftoum said he’d rather an ACMA employee lose an encrypted iPad than a briefcase. “You can’t erase a briefcase full of documents remotely.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags BYODconsumerisation of ITmobilewirelessenterpriseToyotaAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)Fairfax Mediabring your own deviceconsumerizationmobiity

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