IT managers show flexibility with BYOD approaches

February 6, 2014
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SAN FRANCISCO – A raft of solutions have appeared in the last few years to help companies deal with the growing number of personally-owned smartphones and tablets being used on corporate networks.

While some companies have tried to address the issue by limiting what types of devices are officially allowed to access corporate resources, others have focused on broader security issues.

“With our BYOD environment people have brought in everything, including some pretty ancient devices,” said Paul Lanzi, Senior Manager of Mobile at biotech giant Gilead Sciences. “As an enterprise app developer you have to trust the device not at all, and trust your application only.”

Lanzi discussed BYOD and other mobile device and app management issues during a panel discussion at the AppsWorld conference here Wednesday.

Other panelists pointed out that BYOD has actually evolved to the point where IT and users interests are finally more or less in sync.

“With BYOD if you rewind a few years ago corporations were most concerned with keeping devices off the network or controlling them with MDM (Mobile Device Management),” said Brian Uffelman, Director of Product Management at Symantec. “Now we see agreement to let users be more productive with the device of choice. The goals of the IT administrator and users are for once aligned.”

Don King, Mobile Solutions Engineer at consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark, said his company uses one MDM solution, but supports any device supported by Microsoft’s ActiveSync data synchronization software.

He said MDM is important for a number or reasons, not least of which is the ability to generate reports on how many mobile devices access corporate resources.

King estimates Kimberly-Clark has about an even split of about 8,000 BYOD devices and 8,000 corporate-issued devices such as iPads.

The system is working but King said challenges remain. For example, some end users are wary of giving their employer too much control over their device.

“Corporate users see Big Brother,” says King. “We can wipe the device at any time, but do we? No.

“They think we are recording everything and watching everything they do,” he added. “But the reality is MDM isn’t Big Brother. Yes, we can know where your device is located, but do we want to know? Not really. We don’t care if you’re using it in the bathroom,” he joked. 

(Managing tablets and apps and BYOD will be a key topic of discussion at the Tablet Strategy conference coming to New York on May 6, 2014) 


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