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CHAHMBER COLUMN

To BYOD or not to BYOD?

BYOD, which stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’, is the novel concept of people using their own personal mobile devices at work. While this concept allows people to use for work devices embedded with all of their own personal functions and preferences, it also brings new security challenges. The latter, however, often deters companies in Slovakia from implementing BYOD-friendly policies.Roman Janovič, manager system engineer at Cisco Slovensko, Peter Stančík, security evangelist at ESET, Zuzana Chudáčková, partner of bnt attorneys-at-law in Slovakia and Václav Bajgart, country sales manager for United Rental Group in Slovakia, talked about BYOD policies in their companies.

BYOD, which stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’, is the novel concept of people using their own personal mobile devices at work. While this concept allows people to use for work devices embedded with all of their own personal functions and preferences, it also brings new security challenges. The latter, however, often deters companies in Slovakia from implementing BYOD-friendly policies.
Roman Janovič, manager system engineer at Cisco Slovensko, Peter Stančík, security evangelist at ESET, Zuzana Chudáčková, partner of bnt attorneys-at-law in Slovakia and Václav Bajgart, country sales manager for United Rental Group in Slovakia, talked about BYOD policies in their companies.

What is the attitude of your company toward the BYOD trend?
Roman Janovič (RJ):
BYOD is a trend which has been taking place in many large as well as smaller companies around the globe. Two years ago our company implemented a so-called “Any Device” initiative, whose aim was to enable employees to connect to all Cisco’s data, voice and video services from anywhere and from any device. The spectrum of devices used at our company is extensive. They can all be divided into three categories: traditional corporate laptops and mobile devices, private devices of employees and we also have a not insignificant portion of virtual desktop clients. I personally have, apart from the corporate laptop, a tablet running Android and a smart phone. My colleagues have succumbed to Apple-mania and so mainly iPads and iPhones can be found in our office. But basically it does not matter which device someone uses unless he or she is at any time able to access all of the data, voice and video services and applications needed for work.

Peter Stančík: As a security and antivirus company we work with a large amount of sensitive data whose leakage we simply cannot allow. Thus we have decided not to implement the BYOD business policy in our company. This means that our employees can access the company’s data only from secured corporate devices.
Zuzana Chudáčková: Our law firm puts a lot of stress on the protection of data, as we hold confidential information for our clients. In terms of access to this information, possibilities of their usage and transfer, we use several protection mechanisms preventing any abuse of these data.
If our employees used their own devices it would be impossible to secure the protection of our clients’ data on such a large scale. Thus we prefer to provide mobile devices to our employees, even though we are unable to guarantee them the full usage of such devices for private purposes.

But we are increasingly aware of the current trend in mobile communications, which is communications via one mobile device linked with the sharing of data on virtual servers. Thus when it is justified, especially from the viewpoint of labour effectiveness, we try to comply with the wishes of our workers and allow them limited use of their own devices (smart phones and tablets) for conducting their work.

Václav Bajgart: Currently this topic is not relevant to us and we use the company’s devices, which are distributed amongst employees. In respect to the future, when security can be handled better, we will ponder the possibilities of using BYOD.

If your company has adopted a BYOD policy, what have been your positive or negative experiences so far?
RJ:
The positive experiences are linked especially with mobility and freedom, which BYOD enables. The so-called millennial generation, sometimes called generation Y, is just starting their careers. The importance that the internet and mobility has for them is shocking. If they could choose, they would prefer working for less money to be able to work from a distance.

BYOD also represents a vital tool for cost reduction. A company enables its employee to buy a device of his or her choosing and in turn provides maximum flexibility with access to the company’s data.
Negative experiences are related to the protection of corporate data. This protection is of primary importance and here it is always a compromise between flexibility and labour productivity. I sometimes take with me only the tablet and in order to access the company’s data I must accept that whenever I am 'inactive' for more than 10 minutes, I need to re-enter the PIN code. Sometimes it is tedious, but it is still more comfortable than taking out the company laptop and accessing data from it.

This column is prepared in cooperation with AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, www.amcham.sk. The questions were prepared by The Slovak Spectator.

Topic: IT


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