Some companies have had to make unpopular
decisions to make sure sensitive corporate data
doesn’t leak from the new devices.
For instance, Hyatt Hotels implemented a policy
of wiping data from any personal device used at
work if the owner loses it or leaves the company.
Hyatt only started allowing workers to use
consumer devices after discovering last year
that a corporate rule prohibiting their use was
ignored by some.
“We rolled out [Microsoft] ActiveSync and
started seeing devices that we knew weren’t ours,”
said Dave Malcom, chief information security
officer. “So we said, ‘Let’s stop burying our head
in the sand and start addressing the problem and
start securing them.’ ”
Philippe Winthrop, managing director of The
Enterprise Mobility Foundation, said the best way
for companies to reap the benefits of consumer
technologies, while still maintaining data security,
is to implement policies allowing only corporate-
“You can’t fight the war of consumerization of
IT, but you can pick your battles,” he said. “It’s not
about data security. It’s about risk management.”
Winthrop said that companies should allow
employees to choose to use any device they think
can help them, as long as the device is owned and
managed by the company. That way, it’s easier for
IT to secure the data on the device.
“They can allow the individual to download
Angry Birds, but in a controlled fashion,” he said.
Hinchcliffe noted that educating device-using
employees on how to keep data secure is as important as developing hardened security measures.
Companies should set simple rules, such as a
ban on storing data in the cloud, he suggested. “We
have to get into the business of emergent change.
We don’t want to control it all,” Hinchcliffe said.
The consumerization of IT is already showing significant
benefits at some organizations.
For instance, the use of company-owned tablets by the beer
sales team helped food service distributor Ben E. Keith boost
sales last year, during a period of economic uncertainty, said
Steve Fleming, vice president of administration and information.
Beer sales representatives get
an average of 40 seconds to pitch
products to store managers, he said.
The tablets allow them to answer
customer questions far more quickly
than they once could.
Fleming said the privately-held company’s sales increased by $33 million
last year, adding, “I firmly believe it’s
due to having that extra functionality
in the salesman’s hands.” u
Niccolai is a reporter for
the IDG News Service.
IT Faces Up to
Mobile Device Test
The consumerization of IT offers workers many
opportunities — and creates huge challenges for IT.
By James Niccolai and Lucas Mearian
AS WORKERS increasingly use personal or company- owned consumer technology on the job, IT manag- ers face an ever-growing challenge — maintaining control of corporate data as hundreds or thousands of new devices are added to their technology stables.
The use of tablet computers and smartphones — along with
social networks and free online services —
in the workplace is pressuring I T executives
to rethink their game.
Analysts and data center managers at
IDG Enterprise’s Consumerization of IT in
the Enterprise (CITE) conference in San
Francisco last week mostly advised companies to embrace and control consumer
devices rather than fight their use in the
“If you try to block it, it will go around
you,” said Dion Hinchcliffe, executive vice
president of strategy at Dachis Group, an
You can’t fight
the war of
consumerization of IT, but
you can pick your battles.”
— PHILIPPE WINTHROP,
MANAGING DIREC TOR, THE ENTERPRISE