4 Things IT Should Do Before Bringing Consumer Devices Inside the Enterprise

Last month, at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel CIO Diane Bryant met with several of her peers from Thomson Reuters, Genentech Informatics, Motorola and Walt Disney Studios in a CIO Panel discussing current and future technology trends including IT consumerization.

Central to this discussion was not if, but how, enterprise companies are approaching the integration of personal devices like smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices inside their enterprise to boost employee productivity and collaboration.  While there was consensus that enabling these devices is required, the approaches can vary. Security was central to all conversations.

Consumer Devices are Here to Stay

Recognizing that IT consumerization is a significant workplace trend, Intel IT actively collaborated with Security, Legal and Human Resources to enable a secure, productive solution to integrate employee-owned hand-held devices into our enterprise environment. By acknowledging the trend and taking control of the technology in our environment, Intel IT has been able to mitigate many of the security issues that might have occurred if we simply ignored the issue or prohibited employees from using their own devices to accomplish their job duties.

After putting safeguards in place to protect data, protect intellectual property and maintain legal compliance, we are allowing employees to select the tools that suit their personal work style and facilitate their job duties, improving employee productivity and job satisfaction.

Launching an Official Program to Support Personal Devices

At the beginning of this year, Intel IT supported over 13,000 corporate-owned hand-held devices (also known as smart phones).  In January 2010, we implemented a new program allowing employees to bring their own hand-helds. Employee response was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 3,000 employees signing up in the first month.

As of September 2010, our computing environment includes more than 20,000 hand-helds, and over 6,000 of these are employee-owned with secure access to corporate data. In July, we started a new program that allows personally owned tablets.  While we do not yet allow personally owned PCs inside our enterprise, we are investigating that possibility for contract employees.

To reach this point, we engaged in activities on several fronts:

  1. Partner with Security, Legal & HR. We worked with Intel Legal and Human Resources for more than a year to define and implement a personal device policy that meets Intel’s data security requirements.

  2. Listen to Employees. We used social media to dialogue with employees over a period of six months to understand their work styles and support needs.

  3. Deploy Technical Solutions. We developed technical solutions, such as new authentication methods, that help safeguard corporate data and intellectual property.

  4. Train Employees and IT. We provided training to users, to educate them about data security, and also trained Service Desk personnel about our personal device policy. Intel’s CIO Diane Bryant discusses inviting smart phones into the company with Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini. Learn more about why Diane concludes that it was worth working through all hurdles to make it work: our employees are more productive because of it.

If you'd like to learn more, watch this community and the http://www.intel.com/IT website over the next several weeks for a technical solutions whitepaper on Intel IT best practices for consumerization.