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back to article BYOD turns sysadmins into heroes

Bring Your Own Device programmes can help to keep staff happy and turn IT bods into "heroes" but the hard RoI from spikes in productivity is unproven, according to Intel’s IT manager for China. Liam Keating told media at Chipzilla’s Cloud Summit event in Bangkok this week that Intel has around 29,000 employee handsets to manage …

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I once had to bring my own device....

....but that was a Linux PC as the crap we do have at work simply didn't work. However I don't see how, in a workplace environment, current mobile devices could be of any use.

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Re: I once had to bring my own device....

BYO main computing device is a nonsense. It only makes sense where the employee wants or has something better than the company provides and only wants one device - a phone for example. Actually, a phone is the only smart device I can think of. Other devices might be a decent screen, keyboard or mouse, but you hardly need worry about those.

So a smartphone over a dumbphone makes sense. Getting a calendar on your phone or tablet is ok and should be do-able. Email is trickier as you probably have confidential data in that. Webmail is probably the way to go there, but that relies on a constant connection and 3g isn't yet everywhere. However, mostly, when we want "on-the-go" data its things like contact details - things we need while moving. No-one wants to actually read stuff on a phone. If you need a tablet-sized device, get something like a small mac air and put a corporate build on it. Far easier than a real tablet and more capable. Just remember the AV will kill the CPU. Perhaps its time to dust off those VDI plans.

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Re: I once had to bring my own device....

Well there would be lots of great opportunities for mobile devices, but till about 2007 the software was the problem... now the software and the hardware are the problem.

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Coat

Re: I once had to bring my own device....

"Other devices might be a decent screen, keyboard or mouse, but you hardly need worry about those."

What, even the ones with the built-in keylogger, network sniffer and transmitter?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I once had to bring my own device....

"BYO main computing device is a nonsense. "

Depends on the role.

Most of our execs can do everything they need on an iPAD once it is set up to collect their email (other tablets are available but they are execs and don't want them).

With Citrix providing application access quite a lot of other office staff can do all they need on the same devices wherever they are (and with no issues about data loss as there's none at the client end).

I am not sure there's any real gain in productivity from this but there's no significant cost either as it is more or less the same systems involved as are used for home working.

It doesn't suit everyone - I wouldn't want to do any extended typing or CAD work this way for example - but it is fine for a lot of staff and I expect it to become more popular.

We're seeing some unexpected benefits - meeting rooms are less busy as the increased portability makes quick ad hoc gatherings in exec offices more doable. If there was a tablet with a decent built in projector (can't be long) then this would increase further.

It's also simpler to set up temporary project offices as wireless coverage (either existing or with the provision of a single new AP) replaces a more involved network setup.

Personally I'm all for it - it keeps people happy and there's no real downside for us.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

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Not so much BYOD

"use of operating systems and devices which meet a pre-defined list of basic criteria, Keating explained."

So more Pay For Your Own Device then. I bet the list was

1 Smartphone - Blackberry.

2 Laptop - Windows 7 Enterprise

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Devil

technically, it's now possible but...

...I'm waiting for the generally muppetry, oops staff, banging on HR's door shouting about why they should have to spend their own money on tools they need to do work, or trying to Jones some extra cash for the "bestest" BYOD they want. Oh and then there's the nasty about RSI and all that codswallop. Imagine someone doing a BYOD and then going after HR because HR didn't provide the proper "how to use your device properly during worktime" manual. The only people I can see who would be so anal as to want this are the macTards or managers trying to save a few departmental capital schekels by moving the cost into IT's operational budget.

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Re: technically, it's now possible but...

"or managers trying to save a few departmental capital schekels by moving the cost into IT's operational budget". This seems to be a driving factor in many cases; this or management saving on the initial purchase cost of devices and/or maintenance/line rental & data bills.

If I need a particular type of tool to do my job, I would expect it to be supplied by my employer and not to have to pay for it myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: technically, it's now possible but...

I can't speak for all organisations but we are allowing BYOD but not mandating it - and where people want, can justify but do not already have iPADs or whatever they are being bought by the company.

We are not, and no company I know is using BYOD to shift capital costs anywhere, least of all onto staff.

It might better be called Choose Your Own Device in all the implementations I know of.

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Anonymous Coward

We always have been heroes...

...and we always will be! That's our job.

BYOD works fine as long as YOD is not Microsoft based and your environment is not based on the usual scenario of desktops with a lot of local applications.

We have been using BYOD on our Citrix XenApp environment for the past 3 or 4 years and we also could have done it if we were using VDI.

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Windows

Re: We always have been heroes...

We don't have BYOD at work, still have staff PCs taking up 45% of the desk space, but we do have a 'home desktop' via Citrix ICA and we have guest wifi in the building. I've been using the ICA receiver on my own laptop here for a couple of days and noone has noticed the difference. The next step in my master plan is to blow my cover and ask if the desktop PC can be recycled somewhere else...

...then I can have some space to actually think (which, being old, I do on paper)

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BYOD can only work...

...if the companies writing the software work to clearly defined (and published!) standards. For example, GoTo Meeting has no GNU/Linux client. Fine, maybe they don't see a big enough market. But what they should do if publicly publish details on how their Mac and Windows clients do their comms, this would let the GNU/Linux communities write their own clients and the GTM people don't need to bother supporting it.

Now maybe a PC really isn't what is meant by "BYOD" (although it would be a boon for telecommuters) but the same problem holds true about smartphones and tablets; there's just so chuffin' many!

But what about security? Simple. Obscurity is not security. There should be no harm in any software corporation providing exacting detail on how their security operates. The whole point being that even when you can see how it all works, it is still secure.

The big issue I can see with BYOD is end-users not keeping their systems fully-patched to prevent attacks through known exploits.

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Why???

"“There is an employee satisfaction piece to finishing an email on the train so you can spend more time with the wife and kids and dog at home though ... "

There's greater satisfaction in switching off on exiting the building. How many people really work like this - slavishly extending the work to home?

BYOD is like bringing your own chains to the chain-gang.

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The real reason

In my opinion BYOD only really exists because certain top level managers want to continually be able to show of their latest gadgets, that they can afford but you can't. ( ensuring that the unwashed masses are reminded of just how unwashed they really are)

Unfortunately the aformentioned managers don't know how to setup their devices, therefore they had to find a solution whereby the IT department would be forced to set the devices for them using the companies time. This new paradigmv was named BYOD.

The IT Guys have been using their own devices for as long as IT existed, so it's nothing new for them anyway.

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@Khaptain - Re: The real reason

I have to agree there. This all comes out of higher-ups wanting to use their gadgets, and if the IT bods are up for it, then fine.

What then follows, though, is the realisation that this can be used to extend the companies reach into the workers' own homes and their own time. And anyone sucked into this actually pays for the privilege of being abused.

Reminds me of a recent tour down an old coal mine, where the guide delighted in telling us how awful it was that the miners had to pay for their own candles. Nothing changes, really.

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Facepalm

Re: The real reason

Actually, I have a choice.

My own device gives me a phone with a decent screen, a few apps that I want and find handy and will sync contacts and appointments. All I need. If I want to use it, I draw the correct unlocking shape on the front and there it is.

The official product is a BlackBerry. That gives me a brick cunningly disguised as a phone, with a shite screen I can't read, no useful applications ('cos it's locked down by psychotic nazis who run an app approval process that makes continental drift look rapid) and chases me 24x7 with email if I want the contacts and appointments synced. If I want to use it, I first have to type in a password involving wringing shifted and numeric characters out of a keyboard designed for kid's fingers.

Took all of 10 seconds to make that choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The real reason

It's not top level managers - it's just anyone who thinks that using non standard devices makes them look 'special'. I've yet to read any report that says that there are cost benefits to employers, or that tablets / smart phones are in any way more intuitive to use, or lead to increased productivity. (Except the slavish saps who now check corporate emails 24 x7)

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Anonymous Coward

No, just no

My company has decided to trial letting staff use of personal iphones and ipads to access work email and calenders (all via a secure, sandbox app). I politely declined for 3 main reasons

1) I can turn my work blackberry off and throw it in a drawer off at the weekend. With my iPad there would be a temptation to look at work.

2) There would be no subsidy to either the cost or data charges for using my personal device. If you want me to work outside of the office you can't expect ME to pay for the priviledge.

3) I read the small print of the agreement my employer wanted me to sign. They wanted me to give them access to ALL of the data on my device, copies of my device passwords and the ability to wipe the device clean if they so chose (remember, everything was going to be in a sandbox app so a full device wipe is total overkill)

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Hot air

Once again we get back to the old crap of home users wanting the IT dept to spend hundreds of hours support their s41t home network. Complete with crap consumer wifi and poorly configured consumer toy device. Then any change you make to support their device is the cause of every singly issue they ever have with it. i.e. IT becomes marketing department's bitch, again. All this security / right device for the job talk is a smokescreen for the only question that matters - who controls the device. User controls it and IT is farked.

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