Analysts urge caution as consumer devices enter workplace

Companies focus on the technology they own and not on other devices and who is using them, says Gartner

IT security professionals need to take steps to properly manage how employee-owned consumer devices are used in the workplace, analysts warned at Gartner's IT security summit in London this week.

With powerful consumer devices becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the enterprise, and homeworking on the increase, Gartner said it was important that technology privileges reflected genuine need to avoid security problems.

A survey by Gartner found that 15 percent of businesses will have at least some workers using their own devices by the year-end.

Brian Gammage, VP at Gartner, said it was crucial that the management of user-owned technology reflect the needs of staff carrying out day-to-day tasks, rather than simply the person's rank within the organization. Individual requirements of users in completing their work, weighed against the security risks they posed, ought to be the judging factors.

"It is vital to set policies on user-owned devices, and for the policies to reflect user profiles," he said. "It is amazing how most companies focus on the technology they own and not on other devices and who is using them."

One key area of risk being largely ignored was the technology being used by outsourced workers, in spite of the fact they were often handling sensitive data for the company they were serving and its customers. It was vital this technology was properly managed, Gartner said.

"I spoke to one major business that was even considering changing outsourcers to a company that would employ people working at home, on their own machines, handling sensitive information," said John Girard, VP at Gartner. "They asked me what I thought, and I said I'd take a note of their name and make sure not to do business with them."

But while it is important to set the right policies, analysts stressed that user-owned devices were no more of a security threat than other employee-controlled devices within the workplace.

Gartner said the key questions to ask when setting employee owned technology policies are:

  • Who is using the technology?
  • How controlled is the PC environment as a whole?
  • What are the legal, compliance and service level agreement implications?
  • Who is responsible for buying software licences and security technology for these machines?
  • Who is responsible for updating security?
  • Who pays for support?
  • How does the company ensure that employees purchase the right machine for the job?
  • What level of remuneration there is for employees for handling their own IT?

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Leo King

Computerworld UK
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?