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Tablets no longer a status symbol for the chief

Adam Bender | Aug. 30, 2013
Smart devices have gone from 'cool toy' to 'critical business tool.'

Some Telstra employees are "mobility users" who see smartphones and tablets as a replacement, said Beaine. But others still want to have a bigger screen, he said. In the future, hybrid Windows devices could convince more traditional computer users to move to a mobile device, he said.

Abayasiri said he was caught "slightly off guard" by how quickly mobility has taken off in the workplace. "We didn't expect users would be coming to us on a regular basis" to ask about using Whatsapp and other free apps for work, he said.

"It's difficult to explain to users that some of these free things are not really free. They cost us in terms of security exposure."

When CLP discovered many employees were using Whatsapp, "what we tried to do was accept the fact they were using it, but try to find a more secure solution for them."

The best way to stop users from using an insecure app is to provide them with a secure alternative, agreed Beaine. "Until that's there, we sort of can't stop people from doing it because we're not giving them another means or way to do it."

While Gowland said Australia Post has embraced bring your own device (BYOD), the officials from Telstra, CLP and the DEPI officials said they have restrictions on what devices their employees can use in the workplace.

"BYOD is something we do have today," Gowland said. "The plan was always to roll out MDM to all our corporate-provided devices first, but it is absolutely coming down the wire pretty fast. We are going to enforce anyone who wants to connect using a BYOD device, whether it be a tablet or smartphone, will have to have the MDM solution on their device."

Telstra has a choose-your-own-device (CYOD) policy in which it whitelists what devices staff can use, said Beaine.

"The operational management [of BYOD] is very high," he explained. "We're not allowing people to come in with a BYOD device necessarily. If they do, it's at their own cost."

CLP does CYOD because it would be "impossible" to support all of the devices people want to connect to the network, said Abayasiri. The company only allows iOS devices and recent Samsung Galaxy smartphones, including the S3, S4 and Note 2, he said.

The DEPI limits the number of devices it supports to reduce costs, said Bryant. The company only allows iOS devices, he said.

"Early on, we had ... really high demand for BYOD," but after removing "red tape" preventing users from getting a smart device, the demand dropped off, he said.

A few still wanted to use their Android devices, he said. "Instead of saying no, I just said, 'here's a brand new iPhone 5 and I'll pay for it. Do you want it?'"

"Nine out of 10 times, the answer was yes."


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