BYOD too immature for us: Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has stalled on its move towards a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, stating that the market is too immature for it.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has stalled on its move towards a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, stating that the market is too immature for it.

Michael Harte

Michael Harte
(Credit: Commonwealth Bank of Australia)

Speaking in the keynote panel session for CeBIT Cloud 2012, DHS general manager for strategy and architecture, Yusuf Mansuri, said that there is certainly a need for information to be mobile. He said that DHS employees often have to visit customers, but, unfortunately, they are restrained, due to regulation and the nature of information.

"Currently, because of the legislation and so on, and because we have critical government information [and] customer data, our view is to be able to [only] provide portable devices owned by the government to our staff members," he said.

He explained that the department is not confident enough to allow its employees to use their own devices, as the controls around BYOD are still immature.

"We haven't decided on BYOD devices, at this stage. Eventually, as technology matures and we have much stronger device-management solutions in place, we will look into it," he said.

Chris Ridd, managing director for cloud-based accounting firm Xero, acknowledged that large organisations often have an issue with implementing BYOD policies.

"Certainly, the bigger organisations are really grappling with the changing role of the CIO working in the environment where people are bringing their consumer-based expectations to work with all different sorts of devices, and having to manage that from a security standpoint," he said.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief information officer Michael Harte said that the best way of dealing with impatient employees who want to bring their own gear is to have a variety of different devices at competitive prices as the enterprise standards, and to stick with those devices.

Dealing with employees' needs is similar to dealing with customers who want to use their own devices to conduct banking: it is necessary to find a way, he said

"We just have to have a different way to providing an infrastructure to accommodate that, but we've been doing that for millions of customers on a daily basis for decades. I don't think it's a big deal," he said.

Harte said that BYOD is just a small part of a large theme, where IT is being "consumerised".

"The expectations of customers and employees are much greater. They expect to have the same utility, convenience, richness, value, no matter what device they use, no matter what channel they're coming in, no matter where they are located, whether they're on the road, or they're at home, or it's at night, or they're in a customer's office. They just want an ever-increasing richness and ease of use, and that comes along with a subset of BYOD. BYOD is just a small part of that."

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