NAB mulls BYOD, trials iPads

The bank is keen to rollout BYOD to its employees, and is trialling the use of iPads in the workplace.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

The National Australia Bank (NAB) is looking at allowing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in the workplace, with trials of iPads by its top executives already underway.

Speaking at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia CIO Series event in Sydney, NAB's executive general manager for enterprise transformation, Adam Bennett, said that the company is keen on implementing BYOD, but admitted that doing so presents some major challenges.

According to Bennet, the problem with BYOD for many organisations around the world is not whether there is technology to support it, but the policies that should be in place for a BYOD program. These issues include how to assign budget for device upgrades, technical support for personal devices on the corporate network, and productivity concerns.

"Ultimately, companies will embrace it," he said. "The challenges associated with it are far more business and technical in nature, but we are looking at [BYOD]."

Bennett said that it has enlisted the help of Telstra and IBM for its BYOD strategy, and is already trialling the use of Apple iPads with its top 200 executives. Special software is used to push data onto those devices where confidential documents are encrypted and is only accessible with the correct password.

Should the user type in the wrong password too many times, data on the iPad will be remotely wiped.

"In the event somebody compromises the iPad, it will burn the data off the device forever — there is very strong security here," Bennett said.

NAB is currently three years into its 10-year IT transformation journey to overhaul its backend infrastructure and frontend functions. While it has talked about near-field communications for quite some time, the bank has not trialled the use of NFC mobile technology for payments since 2007.

According to Bennett, NAB will be making an announcement on the bank's NFC plans next month.

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