Another week, another flight. At least that’s sure how it feels these days. It’s not that I am complaining, because I actually enjoy tremendously the opportunity to meet new people (as well as reconnect with people I already know) and speak with them about something I am so passionate about. It’s just a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to do that at two events these past seven days: RSA and the new CITE event.
At RSA, I moderated a panel on the last day of the conference. They were even tearing down the expo area when I got to Moscone, so I was a little skeptical regarding the turnout for this 9 am session. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I realized that there were “only” about 250 people in the audience, suggesting that BYOD was still an interesting topic to discuss.
During the CITE event I did a solo presentation on best practices for developing a mobile application strategy. Later that day, I also participated in a panel that was moderated by Galen Gruman. The other panelists included:
- Tony Lalli, Infrastructure Architect, Bank of New York Mellon
- Brian Katz, Mobility | GIS – Global Infrastructure Services, Sanofi
- Dave Malcom, CISO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Walt Oswald, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Motorola Mobility
After we each had the opportunity to make some open remarks about BYOD (I actually said I wished we would stop talking about BYOD as if it’s an all or nothing world) Galen then had each panelist split up the audience into smaller groups to discuss one of seven scenarios. The scenario I had was: What was an IT manager to do when the CEO of the company (a BES/BlackBerry-only shop) comes into the IT department one day and tells him/her to make his shiny and new non-BlackBerry device “work” on the network.
Where have we heard this one before?
The ensuing discussion was rather interesting, particularly because one of the people in our group had just lived that scenario 5 weeks ago. In the real world, they chose to create a “test group” that included the CEO and one other person. The problem is that since this company had never had anything other than BlackBerry devices, they had no tools in place (beyond ActiveSync) and, by their own admission, no real strategy on how to leverage mobility beyond email and PIM functionality.
The rest of the group were concerned (in the fictional scenario) about the chaos that could potentially result from people finding out about the “test group,” in so much as everyone would want to be a part of that group. They were also concerned about the CEO’s expectations that they would have “this” (meaning mobility) all figured in a very short period of time.
In the end though, they did conclude that they had to do what the CEO wanted, but educate him on the potential risks of using an unmanaged device. The group also concluded that they needed to develop a mobility strategy that covered more than email and took into account both personal devices and corporate owned devices. Where have we heard that one before?
Another person in the discussion group asked one question. “Why do we have to fight against BYOD? Why can’t we just provide them whatever device they want and that way we get to secure it?” Hallelujah!!! I almost fell out of my chair as this person had basically highlighted the main benefits of COPE….without even knowing about COPE!
Last but certainly not least, the group agreed that there needed to be end user training where employees understood the company’s policy around acceptable use and the potential risks (to both the employer and employee) of inappropriate use of mobile devices.
It really does feel (finally) as if we are collectively moving in the right direction in terms of having broad adoption of mobile strategies and a better understanding of the needs and benefits of mobility management. It’s a great time to be in this space.