For most enterprises it is not enough to make sure their own email platform is secure. If their suppliers are not equally secure, they can be as vulnerable to criminal hackers and data leaks from human error as the weakest link in their supply chain.
The combination of a chain of usually small- to medium-size suppliers, the expansion of cloud-based email services and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend among workers has created what Richard Parris, writing for BCW, calls a "complex melting pot of security challenges surrounding the secure transfer of sensitive data via email."
By now, the advantages and risks of BYOD have been well documented. While it promotes convenience, collaboration and mobile productivity among employees, it is vulnerable to malicious applications, theft and simple carelessness -- employees storing corporate data in public cloud services that are not secure, so they can access it anytime. Read more...
Bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, is a movement blurring the line between work and personal life. After all, BYOD is all about employees using personal smartphones and tablets for business purposes. So does this mean people check Facebook when they should be working or read job-related emails on weekends?
In other words, does BYOD help or hinder worker productivity?
The easy answer, of course, is both. But CIOs need to tip the scales toward worker performance gains if they're going to endorse a BYOD program, especially since many poorly managed mobile BYOD programs end up costing more than company-owned device programs.
Other CIOs may not have much of a choice with BYOD programs that act as a kind of rallying cry for people to demand certain tech gadgets at work. "The pressure on IT is intense," says Aberdeen Group analyst Andrew Borg. "The implied threat is, 'Give me what I know I can have, or I'll self-provision.'"
The silver lining, though, is that BYOD really does lead to net worker productivity gains.
Consider this likely scenario: A worker wants to turn in her corporate-owned BlackBerry in favor of her personal iPhone. She will enthusiastically personalize her iPhone with productivity tools and apps that deliver up-to-the-minute data, as opposed to the less-customizable BlackBerry.
In turn, the personal iPhone will accelerate her responsiveness.
"They are also more likely to have their device with them at all times, not only during work hours, which means they are more accessible and in-touch," Borg says.
BYOD also helps in recruitment and getting new hires up to speed quickly. Mobile devices have become very personal, like a wallet or purse, and so potential employees will want to work at a company that lets them use their personal devices. Since they are already familiar with, say, the iPhone, they don't need to learn the acrobatics and shortcuts of the BlackBerry.
"The way to give the greatest choice is through a BYOD program," Brandon Hampton, a founding director of Mobi Wireless Management, a software and services provider advising Fortune 100 companies on wireless strategies, told CIO.com. "This can be good for industries that are very competitive for the brightest employees, such as law firms. It's an extra perk."
CIOs prefer quantitative metrics to qualitative hearsay, yet clear-cut BYOD performance gains are somewhat elusive.
Aberdeen suggests looking at BYOD productivity gains in terms of how new devices can improve workflow efficiencies. "Although the temptation is to measure specific processes and estimate the number of minutes shaved off routine activity, it's advisable to look at process workflows that would otherwise have long bottlenecks without ubiquitous mobile access," Borg says.
The iPad, a popular candidate for inclusion in BYOD programs, recently changed the way Eaton Corp., a 100-year-old hydraulics maker, sold its products, basically upending the sales workflow process. CIO Justin Kershaw measures worker productivity gains by monitoring order intake rate and length of sales cycle, from opportunity to quote to the actual order.
"That used to take days and weeks in the legacy process, and now we're down to hours and minutes," Kershaw says.
Cisco announced yesterday three pre-tested bundles of products and services designed to cut through the confusing complexity of enterprise mobility.
The new Smart Solutions packages are by themselves not new at all: they're formed of existing Cisco hardware and software, third-party partnerships, and consulting services from Cisco or its partners. But Cisco says they represent a shift in the company's thinking about how to deploy mobile technology for businesses.
Instead of a grab bag of separate products, the new approach sees mobility, in effect, as a whole that's greater than the sum of its many parts, including devices, operating systems, apps, Wi-Fi access points, VPNs, authentication, and security. The overarching enterprise benefit, according to Cisco, is summed up in a new term, "Cisco Unified Workspace." Read more...
Network and security vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, and Enterasys are lining up at Interop this week with products aimed at easing security admins' BYOD-spawned migraines. Also in the queue: Today's release of Avaya Identity Engines (AIE) 8.0, designed to help organizations better secure and control who can access wired and wireless networks, as well as how they do it.
The move represents the struggling networking company's attempt to broaden its mobile strategy, which has included the Flare Experience -- a videoconferencing product to rival to the Cisco Cius -- followed by a Flare client for the iPad. Read more...
IBM CIO Jeanette Horan has plenty of IT projects and systems to worry about, but perhaps one of the most pressing and timely is Big Blue's ongoing BYOD (bring your own device) rollout, which is aimed at including all of the company's 440,000 employees over time.
The IBM workforce is "hugely mobile," with many working at client sites, home offices, and other locations outside corporate buildings, Horan said in a recent interview at IBM's office in Cambridge, Mass. IBM has long had a corporate managed mobile phone plan that historically has focused on BlackBerrys, she said. Read more...