An informal poll of attendees of Intergen’s Dynamics Day in Auckland on October 31 revealed a hint as to the true state of BYOD in New Zealand.
If the show-of-hands survey during the afternoon panel discussion led by Intergen’s Chris Auld was any indication, organisations are more likely to buy their employees devices then let anyone bring anything they want into a network.
And at least one panellist indicated that there wasn’t a business case for BYOD at his organisation.
“I don’t see a need for our people to bring their own devices to Farmlands,” said Steve Sturgess, CIO of Farmlands Trading Society, one of three panellists. “If it supports a business process and it’s a good value proposition, I would buy them the device, because I would see it would enhance delivery of the service.”
Farmlands is a $700 million a year co-operative held retail chain that sells agricultural supplies through 28 outlets around the country. Organisations like this, which are hesitant to open the barn doors to the BYOD trend may be reticent because of the expectation that every device will be supported.
Organisations also may not have come to terms with how to create and enforce policy around BYOD. Companies are still concerned not just about apps asking for data from a network, but about how users on any end-point are creating potential problems with cloud-based applications on their desktops.
“The hardest thing is discovering the marvellous ways people get creative with usage of network,” said Simon Gould-Thorpe, CIO at Turners Auctions. “A lot of what we do is discovering what comes across the networks and sometimes we have to say we don’t want you to use it.”
Turners Auctions, which is one of the larger car auction companies in New Zealand, can move 10,000 cars in a busy month, Gould-Thorpe says. His organisation has just started to monitor network traffic and system build in order to watch what the users are putting on their systems and devices, and to eliminate suspect apps, say, rather than creating an outright ban on non-approved apps.
Neville Richardson, IS Manager for Sealord Group, a large aquafarming and fishing company, says the question is about protecting mission critical systems from risk.
“We get asked to support most devices in the Sealord network and the approach we’ve taken is to keep the core sacrosanct, but we allow users to bring any devices to the network on the public side,” said Richardson. “As time goes by it’s gotten easier.”
Legacy systems, he says don’t lend themselves to being served out to devices, but modern business applications are easily deployed through https sessions or HTML5, and the technological barrier for sharing data out of back office systems is eroding.
“The distinction between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ is disappearing over time,” Richardson said.
The key to leveraging the possibilities of sharing data through endpoints and the cost of buying devices or securing a BYOD policy is balance.
It’s between what’s cost effective and what’s convenient to empower the users and that’s the challenge,” said Gould-Thorpe. “Every organisation is at a different level of sophistication about what they can allow.”
Richardson described the use of devices on a network as moving toward a “presentation layer” at which point devices are trusted by the network as end point. He says for his organisation, as a Microsoft customer, Windows 8 would “at least give a degree of certainty that those Metro applications will work on the device.”
“We’re not there yet, so what do we do for the next three to four years?” he says. “We will deal with the most common apps first.”