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IBM may have adopted a “bring your own device” strategy for its employees back in 2010, but judging from an interview with the company’s chief information officer, you won’t be able to actually do much with them while there.
Technology Review has published a fascinating look at IBM and how their IT management works. After adopting a “bring your own device” policy in 2010, employees soon discovered that their devices were locked down so much, they might as well have stuck with the BlackBerry handed out to 40,000 of their colleagues.
While 80,000 employees have chosen to bring their own smartphone or tablet, IBM’s chief information officer Jeanette Horan claims the move has “created new challenges for her department of 5,000 people, because employees’ devices are full of softwarer that IBM doesn’t control.”
“Horan's team has established guidelines about which apps IBM employees can use and which they should avoid,” the report reveals. “On the list of banned apps are public file-transfer services such as Dropbox; Horan says IBM fears that using such software could allow sensitive information to get loose.”
Apple’s iOS devices are also considered less trustworthy. “The IT crew also disables public file-transfer programs like Apple's iCloud; instead, employees use an IBM-hosted version called MyMobileHub,” the report explains. “IBM even turns off Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant, on employees' iPhones. The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.”
Horan says it’s just business: “We're just extraordinarily conservative. It's the nature of our business."
However, the future looks a little more bright.
“Instead of making employees avoid apps like iCloud entirely, employers someday might be able to turn off just the two or three functions that worry them,” the report concludes. “Whatever happens, fewer and fewer IT departments will own their employees' equipment.”
“The genie is out of the bottle," laments Bill Bodin, IBM’s chief technology officer for mobility.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of BGR)