20% of councils looking to BYOD
Popularity of BYOD in local government growing despite security issues, Socitm finds
About 20% of local authorities are either investigating or running a pilot Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) implementation, according to research by Socitm.
The society of IT professionals in councils and third sector organisations has found that Surrey county council and the Essex Online Partnership are among the BYOD pioneers, with a number of other authorities having formally implemented BYOD, and many more allowing casual use.
Chris Head, the author of Socitm's Bring your own device: keeping people happy and saving money report, said: "With demands from senior managers and politicians to connect their newly acquired smartphone or tablet, or in response to the need to provide up-to-date equipment to run supported versions of office software despite budget cuts, ICT managers are under pressure to embrace BYOD."
The report says that implementation of BYOD raises a number of issues, however, including security.
The risk of opening pathways into an organisation's secure environment with insecure devices is very real, it says. In addition, problems of dealing with lost devices are more complex when the device belongs to the employee.
There is also the issue of staff security, where the device is used to conduct financial transactions, and store important personal data.
The report asks what might happen, and who might be liable, if an employee's device were to be hacked from within the secure domain.
It says that IT departments have to decide which software to support, and what are the additional costs of doing so.
Android, IOS and Windows Mobile may all be in use on employees' own mobiles, and for the desktop, Mac OS X and the latest versions of Windows XP, may need to be supported under a BYOD regime
"We highlight a number of key issues that organisations need to consider so that BYOD adoption - or even trialling - becomes part of a clear organisational strategy and not part of a knee-jerk response to people's demands," Head added.