The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, where the employee brings in his or her own computer, mobile phone and/or tablet to work and has it connected to the corporate IT infrastructure, is here to stay. The reasons are unique to each employee and employer, the benefits often associated with being able to work flexibly and efficiently.
On November 8, Cisco Australia brought together a team of expert panellists to discuss this phenomenon’s implications to business and the responsibility of the IT department.
Cyber-space policy, security and industry consultant Brett Biddington moderated the panel of industry and business representatives:
● Cisco’s Vice President and Chief Security Officer John Stewart
● Professor Craig Valli from Edith Cowan University’s School of Computer and Security Science in Perth, Australia
● Glenn Chisholm, Chief Information Security Officer at Telstra
● Scott Cass-Dunbar who is the director of KPMG’s IT advisory practice in Canberra, Australia
BYOD’s zeitgeist is about the benefits it brings for employees and the impact it has on businesses’ operation. This discussion took things further, as panellists turned their attention to the computer science ecology as a whole, emphasising the various roles education plays in furthering the trend and managing its impact.
John highlighted endemic issues in computer science education and the ramifications of computer science students’ lack of rigorous experience in risk prone, open operating environments. This means, broadly speaking, students are ill equipped to contend with the increasingly dynamic IT environments in which they are employed.
He also noted a greater need to manage the handover of institutional knowledge from generation to generation. IT Managers now, and increasingly in the future, will need to be able to handle Gen Y members’ demands to have their BYOD needs accommodated. These future managers’ tertiary education needs to equip them for these challenges. This fact points to a need for greater symbiosis between business and education sectors, so that universities can supply future IT departments with staff who can ensure BYOD is a business enabler, not inhibitor.
Taking the education aspect further, the panel turned its collective attention on whose role is it to educate and build awareness with employees and the business on the implications and risks of BYOD.
Scott argued that the onus is on businesses’ IT departments to educate employees about the possibilities of BYOD. Whereas Edith Cowan’s Craig Valli felt that decisions around BYOD need to come from a board level, as BYOD is fundamentally about supporting business and employment needs rather than a simple change in technology per se.
Regardless of who is driving the trend, Glenn reminded the audience that the ‘arrogance of ignorance’ about security will continue to be a barrier to IT cultural change within organisations. Unless, of course, organisations understand the limitations of their own security systems and work to develop solid policies around BYOD and mobility.
Ultimately, businesses’ appetite for BYOD is increasing, as users drive demand to access data and applications from their mobile devices. As panellists demonstrated, the BYOD trend requires all stakeholders (educators, industry leaders and businesses alike) to remain in dialogue with one another so that the ecology in which they all exist remains functional and mutually supported.
The consensus at the end of the discussion seemed to be that BYOD solves numerous challenges, but also brings other issues concerning data integrity to a head.
Click here for highlights from the panel discussion on BYOD. Cisco Hosts BYOD Media Roundtable