BYO devices, apps find acceptance
One of Australia's leading law firms will allow its employees to bring their own device and software applications to work. Photo: Louie Douvis
Corrs Chambers Westgarth, one of Australia's leading law firms, will allow its employees to bring their own device and software applications to work, leading other Australian organisations a step further into the bring-your-own technology landscape.
Director of technology Berys Amor said 58 Android, 455 Apple iOS, and two Symbian personal devices were currently supported. Most were owned by employees who would not have received a company-issued smartphone or tablet in the past. It includes those that also receive BlackBerrys.
The firm has about 1100 employees.
''At the moment our corporate mobile device is the BlackBerry and we have obviously had a lot of requests and demands to use other types of smartphones and devices,'' Amor said. ''So we chose to go down the BYOD path and that led us to how we could secure the corporate data.''
The firm found it could ''sandbox'' and encrypt data on employee devices via a mobile device management (MDM) software solution, delivering security similar to the BlackBerry. Employees with personal devices compatible with Good for Enterprise are now able to access email, contacts and calendar.
As only a few were eligible for BlackBerry devices in the past, BYOD allowed more people to stay connected, Amor said. ''So, we've expanded greatly the number of people who can receive work email without having to expand the fleet.
''We never set out to see if we can reduce costs. Really there was a demand for it and it was about staff satisfaction. Even some of the people with a BlackBerry wanted to receive their work email on their iPhone as well. They are happy to carry both devices.''
The firm is also trialing tools that will enable a controlled form of bring your own app.
''We are looking at Good Dynamics, which allows you to open documents from Good for Enterprise in a secure container and then annotate them, edit them and then save and send them back,'' Amor said.
Self-developed and vendor-created apps could be chosen for use by employees if they are listed in a catalogue of compatible software.
A recent survey of 800 chief information officers and IT decision makers by Telsyte found 28 per cent of Australian businesses allowed some form of BYO application, but their unsanctioned use was expected to be significantly higher.
However, these results were representative of the use of consumer applications and not the ''choose your own'' approach Corrs is taking.
''From our perspective we want to be able to edit Microsoft Office documents, annotate them, and share them securely,'' Amor said. ''They are probably our three highest priorities.''