back to article Is using your own kit at work a good thing?

One of the latest buzzwords to contaminate this great language of ours is ‘consumerisation’. According to many marketeers, it defines the future of end user computing. As with all good marketing terms, various definitions exist because ambiguity leaves more room for creative product positioning. Fundamentally, however, employees …

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Silver badge

No brainer

The only thing the company gets from me are the clothes I go to work in anything else they can provide.

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MJI
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Get company clothes

Well trousers, fleece ect

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@MJI

You're lucky, when I say clothes what I mean is a bt of sacking I wrap around myself...

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Happy

@Chris W

Clothes such as in this job?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/04/web_coders/

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@Evil Auditor

If I went to work like that I'd have the office, no, the whole building to myself.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris W

When I say office, I mean a cardboard box in t'middle o't'road

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As a console jockey

I insist on using my own keyboard, an ancient IBM Model M (with the clicky keys) rather than use the stock Microsoft wired keyboards that the rest of the office have to use. It has "THIS DOES NOT BELONG TO $MEGACORP - DO NOT MOVE"* in black marker along the top, just in case anyone has any ideas.

* This actually used to stop the office cleaners. Well, the ones that could read..

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Coffee/keyboard

Similar here..

Except it is an ond Dell keyboard (one of the big old wide beige ones, not the flimsy, plasticky black / slimline ones)

That has stayed with me for about 10 yesr now and is more than upto the abuse of my fingers (plus the odd fist when a "user" sends "one of those" emails!)

It has clunky keys, they make a nice noise that pisses others off :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Me too!

I have a big clunky steel backed Cherry keyboard. Lovely to type on, and if anyone p*sses me off in the office I can wrap it round the back of their head and then get back to work after nothing more that a quick wipe to remove cranial matter.

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Anonymous Coward

Worked for me for a while

The company I worked for let me work from home 3 days a week. I could have used a workstation in the office, and my own computer at home and synchronized. I chose to provide my own laptop so I could work on the train to/from office and was allowed to cut some of the time spent on the train off my time in the office. I was lucky that I was almost always able to get a seat on the train and didn't have to spend time sniffing other peoples armpits...

After about 3 years, I needed a replacement laptop and the company provided it. Had they refused, I'd have been happy to buy one as the convenience was worth it.

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Bronze badge

Where?

I would kill to have an employer as generous as that! Hours spent on train counted as work time? Please do tell where this open-minded workplace nirvana can be found!

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Big Brother

Works both ways

Company IT doesn't support anything that gets brought in. And the work LAN denies access to anything not on the work list. The dirty LAN allows anything, but you'd better have a patched system.

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Thumb Up

Same here

The same here; the LAN won't talk to anything it doesn't know or isn't up to stuff. The "customer" LAN gives you the world, but nothing internal. I've also got no interest in connecting my HP HDX monstor or MBP to the company LAN or having any of the company files on my kit.

However, the fact that either can run a full system simulation in LT Spice or Mathcad in 10 mins what takes 2 hours on my Dell desktop means that they get brought in when the shit hits the fan. And since I personally built the models in my own time, it makes no odds if I run them on my own kit or the comapnies.

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I Work For Myself...

mx18 Alienware's aren't cheap as The Reg recently pointed out, and getting a far inferior system just for work feels like going from a BMW to a Fiesta. (Not to mention would cost precious time, a few seconds at a go adds up over a year.) At some point I will get around to compartmentalizing work/personal, at the moment work PC, and gaming PC are one and the same. I'm just careful to clear all histories before going to a client site, which isn't that often. (Don't want to accidentally click the wrong recently used file, and have it open in the middle of a horror movie or something.)

Now that I think of it having WoW, Bioshock, and Total War icons on my desktop has never been mentioned by a client.

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Contracting

As a contractor, I've become used to having to supply my own stuff. I'm currently onsite on my personal Macbook Pro, connecting through the corporate network both to external and internal resources without fuss and restricted only by my ethical standards. There are far too many things I can access without having to authenticate myself, including sensitive intranet sites and unsecured file shares.

From a purely personal perspective, I love having my own kit rather than the typical 8 year old snail of a corporate laptop full of unnecessary bloat. From an IT professional's perspective though, it's an absolute shambles that will eventually result in grief when someone without the required nouse brings in his laptop that his teenage son has been using to browse websites that are of interest to many adolescent young men.

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MJI
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Had a work PC fail once

Quite a nasty HDD fail (Maxtor), PC was not that hot, so what did we do?

I went home, found my old P4 2.4, motherboard, C:, graphics card, and fitted them to the remains, along with BOTH lots of RAM.

This was about 2 years ago and it was the fastest PC in the company, even quicker than a colleagues Celeryon dual core.

Used it for 18 months until I got my new quad core jobby at work and is now a spare PC at home.

Small company so I just mucked in!

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i do this now

thin client running xp which is dog slow and with the network locked down so I cant access fb, or my own laptop, running better versions of software I need (visual studio on my mac vs notepad on the thin client) + my own wireless so I can fb as much as i like. I really resent not being able to look at facebook at work. Work and home boundaries blur so much - if I work at home in the evenings, why can't I look at fb at work. Anyway, our network guy keeps going ballistic at me but if I use the thin client I simply can't do my job.

Only things I can'd do are print (can't remember last time I need to print something) or access shared drives (ditto)

every time i use my laptop for a demo at work, I say a prayer of thanks for private browsing though.

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Private browsing? Two browsers!

I always found the best way to avoid committing an accidental browser faux pas was to run two browsers. And seeing as the corporate web apps only worked on IE, it was easy. So all my personal browsing etc was in Opera (or Firefox, latterly), all my work stuff was IE.

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more from you, less from them

This will presumably grow like the mobile phone 24/7 intrusion to include yiour own servers, WAN links, DR specialist recovery and personal satellites?

.

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Silver badge

No big deal

If you use something like Citrix.

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Pint

attractive, but..

I can definitely see the attraction in getting your own kit for work, but what happens when someone brings an Apple laptop into a .Net dev team and wants to run Fusion or something? I guess from a development point of view, you need to have a uniform basis from which you work. Bringing in your own kit just isn't feasible.

I suppose for no developers it would be OK, but personally think that IT would have a nightmare time trying to account for each individual permutation of kit etc.

And of course, this would never work in finance/security/gaming and loads of other industries

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.net

about 50% of our .net devs run bootcamp on macs. I do the same. OSx for home, win 7 for work.

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FAIL

meh...

I currently use my MBP for running VMs to test out for the next infrastructure (no space on currently infra to do this) refresh but not anymore because someone in the office reported me for spending too much time - they think I am on facebook

/idiots

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Silver badge

No.

At work, you work. With work equipment.

This isn't a game. We are working.

Try to use personal kit within the corporation, lose your job.

Have a problem with that? Lose your job.

It's in the contract you signed ...

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Re: No

Really? It's not in any contract I've signed.

I'm paid to produce results, so unless my personal kit actually costs the company (in disruption or risk) it is no more their business than the clothes I wear or the contents of my lunchbox.

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Anonymous Coward

"At work, you work. With work equipment."

My contract specifically states I may be required to supply and use my own equipment. If an esoteric system configuration needs to be replicated it's either me with my own kits doing it in a couple of hours, or endless form filling, prevarications caused by, I suspect, people like you.

"Try to use personal kit within the corporation, lose your job."

Any half-decent IT security system will prevent personal equipment being used without explicit help of, I suspect, people like you.

So, secure your systems properly, become better at meeting your customers needs or become obsolete. Your choice.

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@AC:10:39

"My contract specifically states I may be required to supply and use my own equipment."

In that case you are a contractor, not an employee. By definition.

"So, secure your systems properly, become better at meeting your customers needs or become obsolete. Your choice."

I've been trying to become obsolete for over a third of a century ... that's the holy grail of a system administrator. To make the job go away. Permanently.

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Linux

Where's the penguin?

I gave up on the form because I was forever having to type Linux workstation in to the "Other" box.

I mean, you're dealing with IT savvy people and you ignore Linux? Also, I use Solaris. What about home servers? Talk about a crippled survey.

Generally, things have become tighter. If the staff need it, the company provides it. Storage and data have to be on devices that support proper encryption and when we do access things from personal machines, it is via a secure Citrix session with secure authentication.

When we leave work, that's it. We wind down and have this thing called a life.

No one is allowed to put personal equipment on the works network and not even contractors equipment is allowed on. Consequentially virus problems are an extremely rare occurance, no data loss and a good IT record and up time.

If staff have the latest mobile phones or other gadgets, then they aren't hooked up to the corporations network.

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Linux

Where's the penguin?

Fully agree here, totally Linux boxen here. Nearly threw my hand in half way but carried on to the bitter end just to skew the results :-)

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Blurs the line too far for me

And what happens when you do company work and personal programming stuff on the same machine?

It's already dodgy enough trying to publish your own (FOSS or commercial) stuff without work thinking they have some sort of claim on it. Blur the line further between personal and work equipment and you're just asking for trouble, IMHO.

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Anonymous Coward

Devices

There are some good selling points.

As a contractor it makes sense to use your own device, but then the reality is it is still a "company owned" machine, just its your company not the client.

For employees, it is madness.

Yeah it is great to be able to circumvent your employers buying and support models but what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when the employer decides its time to wipe all your data because they dont want to risk some private information going astray? How do you handle e-discovery requests when the data is on your own machine?

Is all your software properly licenced now, or are you still using personal licences for what is now business equipment?

All this additional hassle just for the privilege of paying to do your employers work... Odd.

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Flame

@1Rafayal

"what happens when someone brings an Apple laptop into a .Net dev team"

Then you burn the heretic!

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Remote working

When working from home, remote desktop worked for me. I was supplied with a company laptop, but no way could that run the development tools I used.

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FAIL

Rather not

1. I need a private life. I do not want the employer to have any say over my own mobile 'phone or computer, no right or expectation to ring me or demand software from my machine or tell me to install a particular set of software.

2. Any work I do for the employer is his, not mine, produced to his requirements, in his time. It should be produced using the tools that he provides. If they are not good enough, advise, request and in the end accept his decision; he must accept the results.

3. Security: two way. Many employers are far more at risk of "attacks" than I am. They are more interesting and offer bigger rewards. Please keep my kit away from theirs. Similarly, most employers have severe restrictions on external access from work machines (e.g. in this bank no external email providers can be accessed, most "social" sites and blogs are blocked). They like to control system and application updates, often with a group whose job is to double-check patches etc.. They want all hosts to be at the same level.

A different story is if, in a few cases, the employer lets one choose one's own machine, within certain limits such as OS; but he pays for it. To me, that is still his machine, to be used only for his purposes.

In my current job, iPhone owners can install, from the employer, a MS outlook email client to connect to the firm's email server and manage work email. Some colleagues do and are very happy about it. I would not for the simple reason that, when out of here, I do not want to be expected to keep up with work email.

Summary: at work, use work systems with all their limits and advantages. If the employer's tools are not good enough for you, persuade him to buy your choice and, if that fails, work within his limits. He is paying.

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@1Rafayal

"what happens when someone brings an Apple laptop into a .Net dev team"

You bow down and worship your new God.

</TROLL>

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Stop

Just bad policy...

Personally I don't trust my users to not install junk on office equipment so why would I let them use their own virus riddled machines? That being said I've still got personal PDAs, iPads, and laptops connected to the network at times. This is what happens when management wants to appease everyone or is too cheap to purchase necessary equipment. (Even though we have a written security policy stating nothing but company equipment may be used on network or for company business.) We've had 2 issues in the past year already on personal equipment but nothing changes. One of these days something really bad is going to get through and I'm going to sit back and say "I told you so"

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Anonymous Coward

@mystra

If you can't secure a network and provide employee access at the same time something is very wrong.

"Personally I don't trust my users to not install junk on office equipment"

-just HOW high is that damn horse?

I'm guessing you run a Windows network? so greenhouses & stones, pots & kettles.

It may be true that no one ever got sacked for going with Microsoft but if you are worried about security why deploy the operating system with more live viruses and intrusion techniques than all of the competition put together?

"One of these days something really bad is going to get through and I'm going to sit back and say "I told you so""

-and on that day I hope I'm the one that gets to deliver your p45 as they say "it was your job to prevent it"

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Anonymous Coward

No way ...

They get nothing they don't provide. Why should my gear have the extra wear and tear (and risk of damage or loss) that I don't get compensated for?

And I've noticed that those who *do* bring their own gear into work (where it isn't even allowed a network connection anyhow) are those who wish to show off their latest iThing -- usually.

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Trollface

@1Rafayal

"what happens when someone brings an Apple laptop into a .Net dev team"

You all learn a *real* programming language.

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Silver badge

Objective C?

That's like the owner of a Tamiya telling the owner of a Kyosho to get "a real car".

Oh god, that was a car analogy, wasn't it?

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simple

You buy the machine in parts as 'lab equipment'.

Our 'lab' workstations run circles around the corporate machines.

The lab sits in a sandbox anyway , but there is a bridge to corporate things like email and filers.

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WTF?

Question 2.8

To what degree are the following used in an 'official' and 'unofficial' manner *across your workforce?* (my asterisks)

I was answering the survey quite happily, but had to bail out when I reached this one. Do you really expect me to poll everyone in my company and present a median?

Forgive me if I wasn't expected to take the question literally. I'm an engineer and can't help myself.

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FAIL

Yes, I had a go at that one and then realised I hadn't a clue, even for this office let alone others UK or worldwide, subsidiariy companies, recent acqusitions and so on

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Bringing your own weapon to work.

I have always had my laptop:

About now; it functions as a test case for company webpages (will they work in Linux?)

To download any executable file (since the company machine won't do that any more*)

To hit those dodgy sites (the ones that mouse trap the hell out of you and insist that you really could use a new virus scanner**)

To learn something new, it is Linux after all and it does change a bit more often than UNIX did.

To find and fix network problems (which may be blamed on me unless I can really get creative in a hurry.)

To keep all of those files (like how to remove a tree stump, with a bang) that should not be on the company machine.

Now, I do like Windows and have been programming in it for too damn long. I just sometimes want to turn slightly to the right and see something that probably doesn't have a virus.

As of now.

*isn't paranoia grand, the fellow who does the network security does not want my machine compromised by say, the new flash player. I would complain except I seem to be the one who does network security.

**Oddly enough, not even porn; a porn site knows better than to mug the customer***.

***If you have to, pull the damn plug, trash the computer with a sledge hammer and burn the remains in a 55 gallon drum (just don't breath the fumes.)

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Anonymous Coward

Bias: I work in the gaming industry. (also why I'm anon)

Personally owned machines generally are not permitted to access corporate resources unless the IT group has allowed it. (we have vendors come in with their personal or work issued kit and need a network connection to do their thing.) The only general exceptions to this rule is the IT group itself, because there is a degree of trust that the machine isn't going to trash operations. We also control web browsing using a filtering system, and have annual audits to keep everyone honest.

For non-IT employees, it's pretty tightly controlled.

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Anonymous Coward

... and finally

I've yet to use any corporate machine (excl dumb citrix terminals) that are anywhere near as secure as my own.

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Linux

I'm a sys admin so work provide a BlackBerry and a HP laptop (I had it from new). The laptop now takes ages to boot (XP) and uses CheckPoint to VPN which can be a bit of a pain. Fortunately they also provide remote access via Citrix (web based) so I can use my Mac (and its nice big screen) and iPad.

There is no access to the LAN for personal devices, and the proxies block most email/social networking stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Long time coming

For too long IT departments have had a paranoid strangle hold on their employers and collegues often having more power than the owners of the business.

I have worked for years with emerging technology and it's the same with every company, the business wants/needs to embrace new technology but IT doesn't want to connect anything that isn't running Windows XP with all the functions switched off, for no other reason than they can be.

The usual arguement is most people don't understand how to avoid viruses, let alone be trusted with configuration (even the system clock is locked down) and users don't need to because all they use is Office. There may be a small number who fit this profile, but key here is recruiting people who know who to use the equipment required to do their job and aren't distracted by facebook all the time (although blocking social media makes much more sense than blocking the ability to keep software patched and is far less annoying than dismissing dozens of upgrade prompts every day for software you'd rather have up to date)

Engineers & developers just have to suffer "but can ask IT to help". -This from IT depts that sit behind 15 year old operating systems that are no longer supported and fail to patch them for fear the patch breaks something that requires XP (although the reference to "only use office" disappears now)

In the last week I have had to walk over and grab a member of IT at least 4 times every day, explain what I need to do, often tell them how to achieve it and in cases explain how windows permissions actually work -and these aren't small fry companies, this is some of the biggest players in the industry. Sometimes this is as trivial as needing to move files on my C drive...

Too often managers will accept any nonsensical claim from IT because they don't understand and buy into all the scare stories. It would be nice to think that finally the network might represent something other than the precious toys of IT and a bunch of joined up typewriters for everyone else. But I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

Now, please form 2 orderly queues for flaming, one for people who want to do their work and one for the guys that never learnt to share the toys in kindergarten.

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Anonymous Coward

Just starting down this path

but using VDI so everyone (eventually) regardless of using company or own kit will be able to get to a virtual deskpop and all the company systems. But for those wanting to use their own kit, the company is giving them some dosh to cover wear/tear/maintenance/insurance and it can be added to the wi-fi groups. Assuming that you are OK with having the client/security stuff dropped onto your machine of course.

Personally I'm not keen on it, prefer the company fix my machine when it goes tits and not that fussed on having a really high spec lappy to show off.

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