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BYOD takes center stage at the first Tablet Strategy conference

by David Needle

April 27 2012

Randy Nunez of Ford Motor Company was one of several speakers discussing BYOD at the Tablet Strategy conference. (PHOTO: David Needle)
Randy Nunez of Ford Motor Company was one of several speakers discussing BYOD at the Tablet Strategy conference. (PHOTO: David Needle)

Tablet app vendors, security and legal experts discussed and debated the implications of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend in the enterprise at TabTimes inaugural Tablet Strategy conference.

NEW YORK -- Randy Nunez, Technical Expert for Mobile Computing Technologies at Ford Motor Company, says BYOD is happening because “people are coming to IT and saying this is what we want.” Nunez says Ford is able to save on costs because people are already trained on the devices and of course have purchased them on their own. 

Sean Ginevan, a product manager at MobileIron says one of the reasons consumers want to use these devices at work is because they’re cool. “And where IT is not handing out tablet en masse, users are saying “Fine, I’ll bring my Samsung Galaxy Tab or whatever the device is and use it,” says Ginevan. 

That movement in turn has led to “a massive uptake of applications” designed for these devices from simple apps that help users find a conference room to more sophisticated programs like presentation layers that provide access to sophisticated SAP databases. 

But one of the issues companies are wrestling with is that end users want to run their personal apps on their devices and also connect to resources on the corporate network.  “You want to make sure your corporate apps are secure and you can control how they’re used,” said Ginevan. 

There are a variety of solutions that restrict access to applications to others that partition personal apps and files from IT. Whatever companies end up implementing Aaron Tantleff at the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, told the Tablet Strategy attendees that the most important thing companies need to control and manage is information. 

“Your company doesn’t care if you love your device, they care about where the data is, says Tantleff, including policies and procedures that take ownership of company information when an employee leaves or is fired. 

Tantleff stresses the importance of putting policies in place before tablets or whatever the device is, is deployed. 

“If you’re going to wipe the phone or tablet, what happens? Does the employee understand that their personal information may be wiped out? And if it is, will they scream bloody murder?,” Tantleff asked. 

Another BYOD issue that needs to be spelled out is personal injury. “What happens if you get a repetitive stress injury on own device? Most insurance companies won’t cover  BYOD-related injuries,” says Tantleff. 

Ginevan of MobileIron echoed the recommendation that new policies are needed for tablets and the BYOD trend. “No solution is perfect, but I’ve seen too many companies take a big binder off the shelf that holds their laptop security policies, blow the dust off itt and say this is our mobile security policy. 

“You have to figure out governance first and have your stakeholders and tech people all lined up,” he added.

Chris Yeh, VP of platform at Box, said companies should engage users on the BYOD issue and do some research to recommend apps they should consider using that also are in line with firm’s security needs. 

“Don’t start from security, but consider the point of view of the end user,” says Yeh. “You can always lock the devices down later.” 

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