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How Fortune 500 companies are managing BYOD

Employees must accept strict controls and security policies prior to gaining network access

By James Careless, Network World
June 03, 2013 06:08 AM ET

Network World - Like it or not, IT departments are accepting the fact that employees are bringing smartphones, tablets, and personal laptops to work – and that they will use these devices while on the job.

To cope with this reality, savvy Fortune 500 corporations have implemented their own BYOD governance policies to ensure corporate network/data security. Although practices vary from company to company, some trends have emerged.

For instance, Fortune 500 companies who shared their BYOD policies with Network World say they made sure to put secure access procedures in place prior to allowing iPhones/iPads, Androids, and BlackBerrys onto their LANs. For example, in order to gain access, BYOD users have to install corporate-approved anti-virus software on their devices.

IT administrators must also be able to access employee BYODs for security reasons; for example, to conduct remote wipes in the event the device is lost or stolen, or to scan for security threats. As well, some companies require employees to use PIN locks on their devices.

[ALSO: 10 BYOD worker types]

The good news for employees is that if they use their BYODs for corporate reasons, they may be eligible for reimbursements from the company, or even company-paid devices as part of their work equipment.

Those are the broad themes that have emerged from our interviews with Gannett, NCR Corporation, The Western Union Company and Western Digital.

What’s Allowed

First things first: Which devices are allowed across the corporate threshold?

At The Western Union Company, “employees can generally bring any personal electronic device into the office,” says Kathy Bell, the company’s manager of corporate communications.

“With regard to our BYOM (Bring Your Own Mobile) program, we support all Apple iOS and Android devices.” Western Union also enables corporately owned iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys, she adds.

NCR Corporation also offers multi-device support. "At NCR, we cover 90% of the platform market, supporting most Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Symbian devices,” says NCR CIO Bill VanCuren.

He adds, “Through the use of ActiveSync technology, we are able to expand our coverage while maintaining sufficient policy controls on the devices for the services provided. We also enable BlackBerry devices through both ActiveSync and our corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Services infrastructure."

[TECH DEBATE: Is BYOD better than company issued?]

Gannett has a similar BYOD policy: The company Allows its employees to bring in any devices “that are supported by
ActiveSync or BlackBerry,” says Gannett spokesperson Steve Kidera.

And Western Digital takes a wide-open approach to BYOD, supporting “iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Microsoft,” says spokesperson Steve Shattuck. He adds, “Windows phones/tablets have not been encouraged because our management tools only recently works with Windows Phone 8 and Windows tablets.”

BYOD Rules and Regs

The biggest fear associated with BYOD is that the devices expose the corporation to serious security threats.

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