4 ways to ease personal device conflict

IT managers are often stuck trying to balance users’ technical wants with their own needs to keep the company secure and run an efficient department.

The conflict often centers around mobile devices. On one hand, users prefer getting their choice of device (often a less secured model like the iPhone), while IT has security standards to keep and would rather support as few devices as possible.

So what are companies doing? Many are trying to find a middle ground by consulting with users when devices are handed out.

That’s the upshot of a recent study by EMC’s RSA division. The survey of 400 IT managers found that:

  1. 66% of companies ask for at least some input in choosing what type of mobile devices to support
  2. 28% allow employees to use their personal devices for work, and
  3. 23% allow users to choose what type of device they use for work.

As the study shows, while some companies allow personal devices to access the company network, it’s not common practice due to security and support concerns.

However, what’s becoming more common is gathering input from users when decisions are being made, and that’s what RSA recommends. While the final decision is up to IT and other stakeholders in upper management, consulting with users is a political move that can ease conflict.

When choosing devices to support, RSA suggests:

  • Thinking like a user — knowing what users want out of devices and how they plan to use them is one key to making the best choice. It will also help you defend your decision to detractors.
  • Assembling a steering committee made up of IT/security, business leaders and users
  • Considering the risks involved and come up with policies, and
  • Pressing for funding for additional tools that can help cover security gaps left open in whatever devices are chosen.