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Technology forum discusses BYOD

Partnership Gwinnett hosted a technology forum on Tuesday morning at Gwinnett Technical College to discuss issues related to the bring your own device movement in schools and businesses. Technology representatives, from left, Christopher Ray, principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus, Dave Boscia of NCR, Brett Belding of Cisco and James Robertson of Time Warner participated in the event. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Partnership Gwinnett hosted a technology forum on Tuesday morning at Gwinnett Technical College to discuss issues related to the bring your own device movement in schools and businesses. Technology representatives, from left, Christopher Ray, principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus, Dave Boscia of NCR, Brett Belding of Cisco and James Robertson of Time Warner participated in the event. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Partnership Gwinnett hosted a technology forum on Tuesday morning at Gwinnett Technical College to discuss issues related to the bring your own device movement in schools and businesses. Technology representatives, from left, Christopher Ray, principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus, Dave Boscia of NCR, Brett Belding of Cisco and James Robertson of Time Warner participated in the event. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

LAWRENCEVILLE — Once the hurdles with human resources and the legal departments were cleared, the “bring your own device trend” has taken off.

“This trickled in and then evolved into a big bang where everyone has a smartphone, and everybody in the high tech world has a tablet,” said Dave Boscia, director of IT services at NCR. “You don’t have to over-control their personal device. When you put an IT grip on them, they’ll opt out. Our employees are more productive, that’s pretty well-documented.”

Boscia was part of a panel of technology representatives on Tuesday morning at Gwinnett Technical College that took part in a quarterly networking and technology forum hosted by Partnership Gwinnett. Along with Brett Belding of Cisco, James Robertson of Time Warner and Christopher Ray, principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus, the men discussed many issues related to the bring your own device trend, or BYOD.

The forum was attended by IT professionals to learn and discuss technology issues and innovations that affect their businesses and customers.

Belding noted that when BYOD began seven or eight years ago, “everyone told us you were crazy,” but he’s noticed that it’s helped his company to “break the mold” as disrupters often translate to innovators.

“Disrupters tend to find low-cost solutions who have high value,” said Belding, Cisco’s senior manager of IT mobility services.

On Belding’s LinkedIn profile, he posted a link to an article from InformationWeek, which has a headline that reads, “Cisco welcomes BYOD with open arms.”

As new products reach the market regularly, Robertson noted that the term could be changed to a more general “BYOT” for technology.

“It’s going to go beyond the laptop and cellphone to wearable technologies and heating and cooling,” he said.

In fact, Belding noticed recently two Cisco employees had synced their home refrigerator to the company network, and then justified it by saying that it helped them learn that day’s weather, a reminder of their first meeting of the day and how traffic shaped up.

“You can imagine if Google could see corporate calendars, how scary the world would be,” he said.

A wide swath of security concerns was listed as the tech experts noted that educating employees about protecting information is critical.

When Belding recently rented a car in California, the car’s Bluetooth technology still had the phone contact list of the person who had previously rented the car. That kind of incident has raised a discussion about reminding employees to wipe information from their cars when they’re sold.

Some of the challenges they encouter regularly are keeping up with software and version updates for various devices, and also on Apple and Android operating systems. Then making sure employees are doing the same, and protecting their devices from even inadvertant security breaches.

“It’s not just the organization that provides security,” Ray said. “It’s every single individual within the organization.”

The checklist Belding uses is to have a protected network, a protected device, which wouldn’t affect the entire network, protected applications and data that arrives from a variety of sources. One extra layer of security Cisco employs is the company built an internal app store that requires multiple entry points.

Another aspect of security is establishing a company policy for each type of user, from a new guest, to a partial user, such as a contractor, to a fully-registered, fully-controlled employee.