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Who Should Own Your Smartphone?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the still-waiting-on-that-iphone dept.

Communications 129

snydeq writes "The great corporate barrier against employees using personal smartphones in business contexts has been breached, writes InfoWorld's Galen Gruman. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, half of the smartphones in use among US and Canadian businesses are not company-issued equipment. In fact, some organizations are even subsidizing employees' service plans as an easy way to avoid the procurement and management headaches of an increasingly standard piece of work equipment. Gruman discusses the pros and cons of going with a subsidized, employee-owned smartphone plan, which is part of a larger trend that sees IT loosening its grip on 'dual-use' devices, including laptops and PCs."

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129 comments

It can be a blurry line (2, Informative)

levell (538346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603774)

Even though I own my own smartphone [nokia.com] , where I work (a very large IT company) there is an increasingly lengthy list of requirements and checks for any device connected to the corporate network.

I value my choice and don't want my employer to get me a phone but if I use it for work it is an increasing amount of hassle

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603886)

As far as "connecting" to the network, I have no issue with what you use, assuming it isn't a device made for malevolence. However, when you come running into my office at 4:56 wanting help with your $latest_awesome_phone, that I know nothing about, then I start to wonder if letting you use your home device for work was a good idea. Or when you want me to enable IMAP because that's all that a single employee's phone supports (and we use Exchange/MAPI like most similar companies), then again, I wonder why we let people use personal devices.

But it is great to think of dumping all the procurement/management onto the end user...

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604194)

Or when you want me to enable IMAP because that's all that a single employee's phone supports (and we use Exchange/MAPI like most similar companies), then again, I wonder why we let people use personal devices.

You know, because ticking a single box to enable IMAP is hard. And because you wouldn't want to allow pretty much every device under the sun, rather than a few in the exclusive have-paid-microsoft/are-microsoft club to connect.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604242)

Sorry, to self reply, but I realise that the point I'm making here is rather cryptic. Your job as a sysadmin is to make sure that people can do their job in as straightforward a way possible, that means that you should be bending for your users. If your users want to use something you don't yet support, it's your job to figure out how to support it.

I appreciate that there are times where you get a higher payoff by saying "fuck that one guy with the weird kit, we'll get more by giving benefit to those 100 guys over there instead", but not ticking the IMAP box is not one of those times. By ticking the IMAP box you get to let everyone work how they want, and lose nothing.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604342)

I solved that problem by implementing a "no personal devices on the network/system rule" our network incidents took a steep dive to zero off the plateau and same with the other problems when it went into effect. control your environment, or it controls you.

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604362)

Yes, and again, the point I'm making is that as a sysadmin, the environment *should* be controlling you. Your users want personal devices on the network? LET THEM! It's not your job to tell them what they can't do, it's your job to tell them "yeh, that's working for you now, you can do your job better".

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605004)

I'll let the 'environment control me' when I get a budget large enough to take on whatever the end-users can throw at me. Until that unlikely day occurs I will continue to control my environment, extending it as much as my budget allows. To do anything else is fiscally irresponsible and simply bad for business regardless of what you think.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Insightful)

Imagix (695350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605070)

I can't agree with you. IT's job is to keep the network and devices running. Not to be jerked around by the latest whims of the users. IT has responsibilities beyond making the users happy. If that can be accomplished while continuing to ensure the safety and security of the network, fine. But dropping a random device into the network is irresponsible. And unencrypted IMAP may not be acceptable use to some companies. So it's more than "just ticking a checkbox".

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605176)

IT does not produce value nor service to a company's outside paying customers.
IT's task is to support the users so that they can do their job so that the company can sell products/services.

Translation: You are not their bosses. They are your boss.

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605366)

Translation: You are not their bosses. They are your boss.

No. The company is your boss. It is your responsibility to do a cost-benefit analysis for changes that users request, not just hand them everything they want. If the user wants a nifty $50000 piece of equipment to cut in half a task that takes 10 man hours each year, do you think their supervisor is going to give it to them? Of course not.

Part of the responsibility of IT is the establishment of security policies to adequately protect the company's data and computing resources. If a user wants something that violates one of those policies then they need a really good reason and need to justify the costs involved with managing the increased risk. That said, IT's responsibility also involves educating staff as to WHY policies are in place and to help them do their job within the policy framework. Otherwise people will just work around the restrictions themselves (like running a NATted Linux VM that runs its own IMAP store).

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

randy of the redwood (1565519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605482)

Actually, both parent and grandparent are correct.

IT is a support function of the company. IT personnel should do everything in their power to help the company make more profit. If that means making an extra effort so a salesguy can use his cool new phone so he works harder, do it. If it means saying no to the sales guy who wants to give a prospect a $50,000 piece of equipment to make a $10,000 sale, tell them no.

Its a pretty simple formula if you keep it always at the forefront of your thinking.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606886)

As long as what they're requesting adheres to the corporate security policy, then yes, you have an obligation to do your job. But if they're asking for something that does not adhere to the policy, even if the policy is restrictive, then you'd be remiss in allowing it. A lot of us work in industries dealing with a lot of sensitive personal data. Would you like to find out your bank or hospital was letting anyone and their brother connect to their network with whatever device they felt like, for the sake of them thinking that they're doing their job more efficiently?

In some situations a restrictive policy like the OP's is the best option. If the users need a device, network will procure it and secure it for them, period, end of story. No personal devices on the network.
 

Re:It can be a blurry line (2, Informative)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604432)

EAS supports the enforcement of policies (device MUST have password, device MUST be encrypted). IMAP does not.

Also, many phones do not support IMAP/TLS, but support EAS over HTTPS. Using unencrypted IMAP for your corporate mail seems like a very bad idea, no matter how you put it.

Re:It can be a blurry line (2, Insightful)

fedcb22 (1215744) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605134)

Name a phone that supports EAS over HTTPS but not IMAP/TLS.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604890)

Your job as a sysadmin is to make sure that people can do their job in as straightforward a way possible, that means that you should be bending for your users. If your users want to use something you don't yet support, it's your job to figure out how to support it.

Provided that it fits into the existing security framework & other policies for auditing, yes.

We don't allow IMAP/POP connections either. In our company, if you're allowed remote access to email, you have an RSA token for outlook web access, a blackberry, or a company-owned laptop with vpn access.

Allowing arbitrary IMAP connections makes brute-forcing/denial-of-service possible, and makes it easy to transfer large amounts of email to non-company owned devices (with unknown security).

Not everyone cares about this sort of thing, but some of have to.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604970)

"If your users want to use something you don't yet support, it's your job to figure out how to support it."

WRONG. It is the job of IT to help the business make money. If the cost of supproring a SINGLE user getting their toy working exceeds the benefit to the business of getting said toy to work, then it is the rational decision to say no.

And you might think that. Just tick the IMAP box. Except then you suddenly need to pay attention to any announced vunerablities in the IMAP service. You might suddenly have passwords going clear-text across the internet. And your phone might not support the SSL versions of IMAP. And supporting SSL IMAP might mean servers that didn't previously have to be set up SSL (with certificates) now need to. Never mind opening the firewall ports up. And the whole extra service to remember to configure and maintain next time there's a server upgrade. Another thing to document - the cost is far more than just 'tick a box'.

Never mind that chances are your toy phone doesn't support it. And if there's an issue with your phone sending email, who are you going to blame? Yourself, or the IT Dept?

See, what you also don't realise is that people want the IT dept to support *their phone* and tell them how to set it up on their phone. This means that IT, instead of having to know everything about phones they support, have to know everything about every phone their employees might potentially buy. YOU might be able to self-support, but most employees simply can't.

Bitter? Perhaps. But supporting single user flights of fancy is not necessarially rational. You don't know the aggregate load that all these litte features palce on people.

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31606980)

But you've already enabled SSL IMAP for Linux support, right? Right?

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605950)

Your job as a sysadmin is to make sure that people can do their job in as straightforward a way possible, that means that you should be bending for your users. If your users want to use something you don't yet support, it's your job to figure out how to support it.

I think what you meant to say is that as a sysadmin, the job is to make sure other people can do their job at all (ensuring business continuity) and THEN put effort into making things easier as a second priority.

There are many things to consider: Complexity (points of failure), security (avenues of attack), legal compliance (sox, hippa - does the user agree to having remote data wiping enabled on their personal phone that holds PROPRIETARY data?), time to fix problems (increases with complexity), cost (who pays for the blackberry backend software when you run exchange?, technical support that is on the company's dime), etc.,...

All of these considerations are weighing risk factors to the business as a whole (including risk to employees and customers) against the needs (why is 'need' so often used in place of the more accurate 'want'?) of individuals. Risk is a form of cost and that must be weighed against benefit. If a single employee gets all the benefit but the company gets all the cost it doesn't make business sense to act on the request.

Then their are the non-technical issues. Where the requester is in the corporate ladder (does this person have the ability to fire me or not and I like my job), etc.,... Let's be real here - we all know policy doesn't apply in any practical sense to someone one the 'C' Team when the 'S' storm happens and the 'B' game commences.

If one person wanted IMAP support. Depends who's asking and if they are not on the 'C' Team, sorry, no - that's a hole in the firewall where everyone shares the risk and only one person gets the reward (yes, I know IMAP is a bad example) - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Either that or they should have one hell of a business case. However, if 51 percent want IMAP support AND they have made BUSINESS cases to justify the request, its a totally different story - now the balance has shifted - the BUSINESS needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one or the few holds again so you find a way to support it.

If I got to 'work how I want', I'd get a steady paycheck for doing nothing at all. Do you know where I could get a 'job' like that? Do you think there are many openings at places like this?

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

cmunic8r99 (1271724) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604658)

You know, because ticking a single box to enable IMAP is hard. And because you wouldn't want to allow pretty much every device under the sun, rather than a few in the exclusive have-paid-microsoft/are-microsoft club to connect.

Enabling IMAP won't do a bit of good if it's not open through the firewall. Opening the hole in the firewall requires change control documentation for SOX purposes, good governance, and security sanity, and no change request gets approved without business justification. YMMV.

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605152)

Companies that do this (including the one that I work at) simply require people who want to use their smartphones at work to use a certain kind of phone (blackberries in our case). If you don't buy that type of phone, not only does the company not support it - it won't even let you use it on the network.

Re:It can be a blurry line (4, Funny)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604222)

Well - under these conditions, it becomes your responsibility to educate the poor fool. Really, you MUST launch into a tirade/lecture, informing him that impulsive buying, without even researching what the hell he needs or wants is the sign of a seriously diseased mind, and that his status as an employee is in jeopardy. Offer to help him, and when he agrees, reach into your desk for the 3 pound hammer, smash the damned phone, and tell him that it just your little secret - you won't tell management that he's a senile moron who is losing his tenuous grip on reality.

At this point, you inform him of the half dozen best choices for a personal phone, and usher him out of your office/cubicle/dungeon.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604304)

That's absolutely ridiculous, you must be crazy.

Offer to help him, and when he agrees, reach into your desk for the 3 pound hammer, smash the damned phone, and tell him that it just your little secret - you won't tell management that he's a senile moron who is losing his tenuous grip on reality.

Who amongst the horde of slashdotters can lift a 3-lb hammer, let alone use it to smash something?

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Funny)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604916)

I don't know what GP was thinking... BOFH-tactics usually involve electricity and/or Halon.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606168)

Hammer? Wasn't that a codename for some of AMD's processors? I think we can lift those. I'm just not sure what the 3-lbs., designation stands for.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605400)

Okay clueless employee here:

I want to run Opera Mini web browser. My provider is Virgin Mobile. How do I figure out which of their phones will run this software?

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605502)

http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2009/04/01_2/ [opera.com]

But, of course, you realize that which browser you are using is probably the least of your concerns, when it comes to connecting with your company's network. Are these phones compatible, in all respects, including the security software?

Best thing to do is, ASK YOUR IT PEOPLE!!

Re:It can be a blurry line (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604928)

enable IMAP because that's all that a single employee's phone supports (and we use Exchange/MAPI like most similar companies),

Sounds like you are the problem. That is not a standard documented protocol.

Re:It can be a blurry line (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31606484)

In what way... do you want it in latin?

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc765775.aspx

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605220)

There's a local hospital near me that added all the fancy iPhone stuff to their email system. One person uses an iPhone. Everyone else uses a Blackberry.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

PNutts (199112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606010)

by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) writes: Alter Relationship sexwithanimals@gmail.com on Wednesday March 24, @04:15PM (#31605220) Homepage

There's a local hospital near me that added all the fancy iPhone stuff to their email system. One person uses an iPhone. Everyone else uses a Blackberry.

I was going to ask about "fancy iPhone stuff" until I saw the relationship between your user name / e-mail address / post involving a local hospital.

Re:It can be a blurry line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31606570)

But it is great to think of dumping all the procurement/management onto the end user...

Yeah, especially if you can wangle into the deal that it gives you some right to inspect the employee's calling records and profiles without his knowing you're doing it.

Many years ago, my manager offered to have the company provide me with a second phone line for direct dial-in to our mainframe, so as not to have to keep my family off our own line. First, he wanted me to compose a letter to his management justifying the expense. Then he was going to clone the letter for future use by other employees. Fuck that -- let him write his own letter.

Then I was expected to submit the paid bill each month for inspection and reimbursement. If I were found to making any personal use of the line, the arrangement would be terminated. Fuck that shit, too

I told him it was too much trouble and I'd just put in and pay for my own line, to be used any way I damned well wanted.

Re:It can be a blurry line (2, Insightful)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603962)

Even though I own my own smartphone [nokia.com] , ...where I work (a very large IT company) there is an increasingly lengthy list of requirements and checks for any device connected to the corporate network...

This is the big issue with ownership & management - requirements for devices to utilize company resources (and whether or not the device needs to utilize company network resources). If the device will connect to the company network, the IT department has a very good case for managing (and/or owning) the device. It really comes down to network security, and disallowing rogue devices from connecting to the network. In a large company with many IT resources (and many to protect), it's far easier to say that the company owns and manages the device. In a small or mid-sized company, where there is less IT infrastructure to protect, or less need to weigh security against usability/ease-of-management, there is a better case to be made for user owned and managed devices.

Re:It can be a blurry line (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603986)

Granted, we're a smaller company, but we've taken the opposite approach. In the office, you either have a Mac Mini or an iMac. But when people are hired, we pay them a $3,500 signing bonus with the expectation that it is to buy a new laptop of their choice. Overwhelmingly they buy MacBook Pro's and add XP or Windows 7 with VMware/Parallels and we add $45 to the first paycheck of the month to cover data plans and "business" minutes/texts on their cell phones.

We find that they usually take much better care of the laptops when it's "their" laptop and it beats having to carry two cell phones.

Re:It can be a blurry line (1)

omgwtfroflbbqwasd (916042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604488)

First things first. Is "company data" - email, contacts, files - accessible from your phone? If so, they have a vested interest in making sure that data is not compromised when your phone is lost or stolen. As a result, PIN/password requirements, encryption, antivirus, and remote wipe capabilities are generally required. In some cases where devices have a tunnel to the corporate network (Blackberry), they will possibly want to control what apps you install to prevent malicious ones from accessing the corporate network via your BES server.

Most laypeople don't have any clue about protecting company data on a regular basis, they just want their data instantly and aren't concerned with what happens in a worst-case scenario. "Oops, it got stolen. Guess I need to get the latest model now!"

I prefer complete independence, thanks (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603820)

The personal phone I carry is none of my IT department's business, and I like it that way--thank you very much. I don't want to EVER get into a situation where my workplace has a legal case for subpoenaing my personal phone.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603904)

Sadly, if they subsidize your phone, they may actually incur legal liabilities of your actions.. For both parties it should be 100% separate. Just makes business ( and personal ) sense.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31603936)

Sadly, if they subsidize your phone, they may actually incur legal liabilities of your actions.. For both parties it should be 100% separate. Just makes business ( and personal ) sense.

IANAL, but regardless of who pays the phone bill, employer liability for employees (if any) remains the same.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31603974)

Why would they subsidize my personal phone? Anyhow if they wanted to do it smart, they'd give me a $500 "bonus" instead of silly subsidizations, or better yet: a gift phone for excellent service and the need of a phone.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604278)

Now, THERE'S an idea. People get the stupidest freaking gifts for service anniversaries. A telephone that is compatible with company systems is one of the best ideas I've ever heard of.

Now, let's try to convince the people who actually choose those "gifts".

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (3, Informative)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604026)

You have no idea how many people are completely willing to do what you want to avoid.

We have a ton of people with their own blackberries signing up. They all are informed several times by us that their phone is open for legal discovery and a possible remote wipe if needed.

As the IT person, I DON'T use my personal phone. And I'd rather not. I don't understand why my company is ok with the use of personal phones...it just seems like so much unecessary liability and extra work. Personal devices aren't just a security risk, its an administration nightmare. Try providing technical support or troubleshooting a single error for 15 different platforms. It sucks. And it eats up time.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604148)

Call me a stodgy person, but I don't want corporate data on a personal phone. I much rather see employees get Windows Mobile devices, iPhones, or Blackberries where IT has full control of the device, including denying access to the camera (some contracts require cameras be disabled on phones), pushing out policies to wipe phones if they are off the network for x days, or remote wipe.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605156)

It's easy to see why any company is ok with this (or more acurately part of the company). It comes down to $$$$$$$$. If I don't own it, then it doesn't appear on the books as capital and the company saves money. You see, a manager doesn't want to pay for anything they don't have to. In fact a lot of their bonuses revolve around reducing costs and this would seem an easy way to achieve that. I.e pass some of the cost onto the employee.

I personally carry two phones, one personal and one for the company. At night when I go home, I turn the company phone off. Out of office is my time and they're not paying me for it. The only time I leave it on after hours, is when I'm overseas for site work. Then I will redirect my personal phone to the and office phone to the work mobile.

This is for two reasons:

1: I shouldn't have to bear the global roaming costs of familiy and friends wanting to call me.

2: Safety, in case the local county rep needs to inform me of dangerous situations and arrange evacuation medical aid, etc....

I the company wanted me to use a personal phone for company business, then my view is that will be on my terms, not theirs. Including the ability to download and run whatever software I want on it. No way would I submit to their placing remote wipe software or other "security" measures on my property. Their responsibility is to protect the companies property, not mine. Conversely, I will protect my property.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606088)

Try providing technical support or troubleshooting a single error for 15 different platforms

My company is in the process of phasing in this sort of policy (BYODevice). The company will support you as far as getting connected to our systems (via BBES, for example) - technical support & troubleshooting of the devices and the software is left to the wireless provider. Which is part of the point of the whole thing - the company doesn't have to pay employees to do that support.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604182)

Fine. However, do not expect to connect to any of our gear, including email servers (pop, imap, exchange, what have you). VPN is out as well (for phones like the iPhone that support business VPN). Your phone, our gear, never the twain shall meet.

- IT

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604184)

I'm with you. So far I've never had a job where I was asked to carry a smartphone as part of my job, and I'm glad for that (I wouldn't say no, but I wouldn't like the idea).

If I ever was asked to carry a smartphone attached to my corporate email, I'd at least think about using my own device so I don't have to carry two. I definitely don't want to do my personal business on the company-owned device, so I'd want my own, but depending on what degree I'd be able to keep my work and personal stuff separate on my personal phone, it might be a better option than two-fisting it. But if they were going to try to claim any access to my phone at all, the deal would instantly be off, and I'll dual-wield, thank you.

Still not protected. (2, Informative)

gillbates (106458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604338)

Anything of yours can be subpoenaed in a lawsuit. Northwest Airlines subpoenaed [zdnet.com] the *personal* computers of their employees when they suspected their employees were getting too uppity^H^H^H^H^H^H, I mean, striking by calling in sick.

It hardly matters if you use encryption, etc... the legal discovery process can violate whatever privacy you thought you had. It only takes a credible allegation of wrongdoing - not even "beyond a reasonable doubt" - to discover all of your personal files, etc... and, because only money is involved, the plaintiff needs only show guilt by a "preponderance of the evidence", or more succinctly, that it is likely that you did it. If you think you can get smart by encrypting your files, it's likely you'll be held in contempt of court, and have a summary judgment entered against you.

The only thing paying for the hardware means is that you'll eventually get it back, usually.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604442)

Huh, what have you or the IT department got to do with it?

The question is surely whether ATandT own it or Apple owns it!

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

Stonesand (922187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604866)

If you carry a personal phone with a camera in it into a business, you open yourself up to a world of trouble, if the business wants to get nasty. Maybe you didn't take a picture of the secret plans and send them out to all their competitors, but if you're serious about not opening yourself up to trouble, don't carry in a personal phone. I suppose it depends on your job...

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31607144)

Your tin foil hat is wearing thin, time for a new one.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605012)

Well, Look at you, Hacker [wikimedia.org]

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (3, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605184)

Personally, I'm not so concerned about the "company could assert some ownership over my device" angle, so much as the "I'm not on call so my Blackberry is at home, good luck reaching me" angle. I try to keep work out of my personal life as much as possible, no way in hell am I going to get work mail on my personal smartphone.

Re:I prefer complete independence, thanks (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606928)

Pretty much the same with me. Everyone in my department has company issued Blackberrys. I have a company issued US Cellular flip phone due to crappy Verizon coverage where I live. I like the fact that the only "tether" I have is a simple phone. Holds a charge for a week, inbound texts only, and I don't have to baby it. It's bad enough with that. I'd hate for people to get the expectation I am available all the time. I only check mail at my desk at work. If I get a call about an issue at work, and I am at home, I'll vpn in and fix it. Also, I'll be damned if I use the phone in the car. I don't own a cell phone, because they allow personal use of it as long as it is not abused. It's probably used 95% for work anyway.

ME! (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603822)

Its mine. I own it.

Re:ME! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603894)

Who pays/paid for it?

When my company paid for my cell phone. I left it in my desk at work.

Now that they canceled that policy to save $$, they can go to hell if they want my personal cell number.

If I'm not at my desk or on Sametime, good luck finding me.

Re:ME! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604604)

When my company paid for my cell phone. I left it in my desk at work.

Now that they canceled that policy to save $$, they can go to hell if they want my personal cell number.

Your company having your phone number is a pretty normal thing.

Your company having your phone number doesn't change how many hours you are expected to work. If your company expects lots of unpaid overtime, I doubt having your personal cell number changes that.

And if you use your personal cell phone (or car, or anything else) for business, it's perfectly normal to file an expense report with your employer.

Re:ME! (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606912)

You sound like an AWESOME guy to work with.

Depends on usage (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603824)

I would always want my own unrestricted phone under my own control. If, as the case is now, that phone gets light-moderate work related use, that's fine since it beats the other option of having 2 phones. Also, if I drop or break it, there's no drama (apart from having to replace it). Now if I was using the phone for hours each day, I'd be wanting a separate work phone.

Re:Depends on usage (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603998)

My policy for a long time was that if I had a salaried position where they expected me to respond to work calls/emails outside of work ours, then they needed to get me a separate work phone for that. I didn't want people calling my personal phone. Part of the idea is maintaining a small barrier between personal time and work time-- essentially that I know when an email is a work email is a work email and I can choose to ignore it. I didn't want people calling my personal cell phone unless there was an emergency.

These days, I might resort to that if necessary, but with as nice as smartphones are getting I think there's real value in being able to carry a single device that's your all-in-one PDA/Phone/MP3-player/everything device. I think the real trick would be to set up a Google Voice account and use that with my phone to allow some control over how my calls get routed.

I'm kind of looking forward to having a Google Voice enabled phone. Not there yet, but it's coming.

Re:Depends on usage (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604282)

Meh. If you're on call, you're owned anyway. Which phone they call you on doesn't matter and you won't get any separation between work and personal time (when you are on call). If your company doesn't respect that you have time when you're not on call, that's a whole other issue.

Re:Depends on usage (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604556)

Yeah, it's somewhat minor, but the way I see it is, when you're on call at that level, you need every bit of separation you can get so that you can stay sane. There were times when I'd ignore my work phone or even turn it off. The idea was to allow clients/users a method to contact me when I was free, but one which I could turn off. In case of a real emergency, my boss had my real cell phone number.

It worked. It made sense. But these days it should be possible to accomplish the same thing without actually keeping two separate devices.

Re:Depends on usage (2, Interesting)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605242)

Funny you say your boss can call you on your personal phone in an emergency. In Australia (state of Victoria), privacy laws prevent your boss from doing just that. The HR department is obligated to maintain your personal details, but not to give it to your boss/manager. There might be exceptions for life'n'death situations, but then the HR or safety representative would still do the contacting, not your boss. Having said that, there's nothing stopping said manager from using the White Pages to find your details, however, I'd pretty much be pissed off if that happened. That's why I don't give my personal numbers to my manager. I have a company phone, but only for use while on company business.

Re:Depends on usage (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605768)

I find it much more convenient to maintain a single phone. I accept that my boss can then call me on it. If I objected to that yes I'd get a company phone, and keep my private number unlisted. But support is part of my job and I'm happy to help in a genuine emergency providing that it isn't abused. So far I've only received one unexpected call when I wasn't on support for the night in 5 years at my current job.

Re:Depends on usage (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606418)

Actually the situation I'm describing was the result of a deal that I had with my boss. My boss was the person that I trusted not to abuse having my personal cell phone number, and I would have been less likely to trust HR. As far as I can recall, HR only had my home phone number, not my cell.

As far as I know there aren't really laws about that sort of thing in the US, but either way I wouldn't have minded in this case. I had a good boss who viewed "protecting his employees" as a major part of his job.

Re:Depends on usage (1)

cmunic8r99 (1271724) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604706)

Isn't the Nexus One Google Voice enabled?

Google Smartphones Are Business Un-Friendly (1)

Stonesand (922187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605032)

Don't get me started on Google and their smartphones. As smartphones become more and more prevalent, Google has decided to release smartphones without true Activesync (Exchange) support. Here you can see that Activesync remains the 4th highest-requested feature on the Android operating system, since the issue was raised in November 2009: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=4475 [google.com] They don't need multi-touch screens, better media players, better menu layout: people need their freakin' business email and calendars. There has been no feedback, about this issue, and, according to the dev site above, the issue hasn't even been assigned. I know that most people here would legally wed Google if they could, but Google is ignoring the biggest smartphone market that this story seems to claim is so important. Further, to respond to the parent post, the NUMBER ONE issue with Google smartphones is that their voice-dialing sucks: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=1181&colspec=ID%20Type%20Status%20Owner%20Summary%20Stars [google.com] This has been an UNASSIGNED enhancement request since November 2008!

Re:Depends on usage (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606444)

When I said, "Not there yet, but it's coming," I was talking about in my own personal phone. I meant something more like "I don't have it yet, but I'm probably going to get a Nexus One soon."

Re:Depends on usage (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606362)

I'm kind of looking forward to having a Google Voice enabled phone. Not there yet, but it's coming.

I'm confused by this statement. Google makes a great app for the Android phones that seamlessly integrates with Google Voice. And, now that the app has push functionality, it's that much better.

After some consideration... (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603836)

I'm going to have to go with "Me", Regis.

I have no problem using or not using it for work. If they want something specific, they can feel free to shell for it.

I should (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603854)

Because if I'm carrying it at all times, then I'm using it for personal reasons. As such, to keep my privacy I'll use my own. If they want to pay for some/all of the plan I'll take the money as reimbursement, but I want the control.

Of course, I don't even tell my employer that I own a cell phone. I don't feel like being 24/7 on call for them, and after hours calls from them go directly to voicemail.

Is that a trick question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31603862)

My smartphone is mine. If the company wants me to carry theirs, they have to pay me. It might be tempting to use a company-issued phone for personal stuff, but personally I like to keep my data under my control, which you just can't do with someone else's hardware.

Security and restrictions (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603890)

Do you care about securing smartphones, laptops, etc? Do you want to reserve the right to restrict their use?

If they can access and store company information, introduce infections into company systems, or pull customer information, then maybe you should reconsider the cost-saving approach.

I wish my company paid for my phone... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603910)

Where I work, the company *may* (if you qualify and are VP approved) pay for your phone bill if you either get on the 'company calling/data plan' or identify the personal/work calls. However, they don't pay for any type of phone. You buy your phone out of your own pocket.

Another Reason to Love My Employer (3, Interesting)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603922)

The rule where I work (Netflix) is simple:

1. We give you a Blackberry or an iPhone (you pick)
2. We pay for the plan
3. You use it responsibly
4. You figure out what "responsibly" means.
5. There is no Rule 5

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604246)

"a Blackberry or an iPhone"

No android selection? That sucks. Still, can't complain if it's free, I suppose!

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31607066)

"a Blackberry or an iPhone"

No android selection? That sucks. Still, can't complain if it's free, I suppose!

No Android because there is no active sync support, no hardware level encryption, and unencrypted removable storage.

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=4475 [google.com]

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0)

omgwtfroflbbqwasd (916042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604364)

Hey Blockbuster - want to know what Netflix is up to?

1) Steal this guy's phone.
2) Gain competitive intelligence
3) Profit!

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604710)

This is true for the famous .com that I work for as well. Not for everybody, but at least for us here in the hirer ranks of engineering.

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0, Troll)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606178)

but at least for us here in the hirer ranks of engineering.

At what rank of engineering do you get to hire people?

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31607100)

At what rank of engineering do you get to hire people?

You'll never find out because we don't allow pissant little pedants into those ranks.

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604788)

So what usage have you seen among your co-workers? Are they "responsible"?

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605202)

We have comparable rules;

1) You buy the phone.
2) You pay for the plan.
3) We require your phone number.
4) We must be able to contact you 7*24*365.
5) There is no Rule 5.

Re:Another Reason to Love My Employer (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605854)

I have a similar situation at my employers:

You get a choice of Nokia E series or Windows Mobile phones (usually HTC). The reason being they both support MS Exchange email.
The company pays for the plan, and the phone can be used for personal calls becuase we're on a hight corporate plan, and unless you're a heavy user (we have people racking thousands $ in monthly bills because of roaming) then your bill will be reasonable.

This is the reason why when I joined the company, I signed over my phone number to the company so I don't have to carry two phones. The company has no qualms about signing over the number again if you decide to leave (seen that with other employees who have left)

Been there, done that (2, Interesting)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31603930)

I worked for a year and a half (not in the IT industry) in a position where I had to carry a company phone... and I also carried my own phone, because the company phone was strictly business. It is a hassle having to juggle two pieces of gear, especially since the job did not involve sitting at a desk.

That said, I'm all in favor of using my own phone for company business, as long as it doesn't burn through my minutes. Since my current job does involve a desk and a land line, that isn't really an issue.

Missing option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604046)

Cowboyneal of course

Call Forwarding (2, Interesting)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604060)

Current setup:

Work phone is a crappy blackberry pearl (the "keyboard" on it sucks).

Personal phone is a HTC Hero.

I simply have the blackberry forward all calls to my personal cell phone. This way if I ever leave the company, the HTC is still mine, if they need the work phone back because they are investigating something, I simply remove the call forwarding setup and give it back to them.

Only downside is if you miss a call that was forwarded to you, when you call back they get to see your personal cell phone number. This could be avoided by instead having the work phone forward to a google voice account #, and then on the personal phone, just use google voice to return calls.

Re:Call Forwarding (1)

Thanatos81 (1305243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605170)

Try returning the call with a #31# prefix. If you want to know more just google for #31# "gsm codes". Works fine with a HTC Dream over here in Europe.

Re:Call Forwarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31606208)

This sounds like it might be onto the long term solution: smart phones with the equivalent of two "rich" SIM cards. Single phone, but two distinct numbers that be turned on/off independently, and have all data stored independently - the corporate account can be locked down as much as IT wants, and they can issue the SIM (or something similar) already configured. For personal use, the other SIM can be as locked down or as open as the user wants. Throw in some sort of computer based reader for the corporate SIM in the event of litigation and we have the best of both worlds. I imagine there is potential to virtualize the SIM, though having physically separate ones does have some advantages. Blackberry would be the logical place for this to start.

TRWTF :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604064)

TRWTF is of course that corporate procurement is so outdated and out of whack with reality. Any corporation where procuring a $1k/year service almost costs more in personnel costs should have its management publicly flogged by the shareholders.

Now, that would involve quite a lot of floggings I'm sure. Every US State capital would have the downtown closed to traffic for months :)

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604074)

So Forrester suggests that employees should be treated like Grownups. He doesn't suggest that most employees need to act like Grownups. If the larger percentage of security breaches are considered to eminate from the inside of a company network, then this holds true for smartphones. Therefore you really really shouldnt treat your employees like grownups.

The people who write these articles always say 'people want to do it, so companies should allow them to do it / find a way to do it'. Most companies have process, policies, rules etc to dictate all the ongoings of business and tecehnology is included in that. Why then is technology singled out as OK to break policy on, but 'doing things my own way when I fill out the TPS report' is not? "Gee, I really dont like the TPS report format, it's so cumbersome and old, I'm going to make my own and submit that". Personally I think the people that write these articles are angry at their company for not letting them use their iPhones on the companies network.

In any case, more scrutiny should be paid to the cost of supporting (because yes you will be supporting them if they are getting company data, especially those C-level execs) and buying and managing that infrastructure.

The only way to do it is to create a bubble inside of the 'personal smartphone' that contains the companies stuff, and another bubble for the personal stuff with a clear line of separation plus a way to tell usage of each.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604140)

You want to call me outside of office hours? You provide the phone and pay for the service plan.

You want me to be reachable when I am away from my desk? You provide the phone and pay for the service plan.

Sure, I appreciate being able to chose the device I will carry and use on a daily basis, but its still just a tool to me.

If I have a problem with the restrictions you put on my use of your equipment, then I will get one of my own for my personal use.

HR issues (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604256)

Where I work a policy had to be implemented limiting the use of personal devices to access work resources (ie email). There are a lot of hourly employees here and by law if an hourly employee responds to an email after hours, they need to be paid for time worked. HR decided that they didn't want to deal with tracking all of the random hours so they just implemented a policy that denies employee devices on the network. If there are outlier cases like where an hourly employee needs to help with an after hours event, they are given a Blackberry.

For the rest of the staff, they are encouraged to buy their own devices. The organization saves money on repair bills and the employees tend to take better care of their devices. Once they realize what the replacement cost on a smartphone is, they stop dropping them and mishandling them. Our director of development was the worst. She went through three phones in a single year. Since she was put on the hook for her own device costs, she has miraculously managed to not damage or lose it. The organization still pays for the monthly calling / data plans.

Nobody! (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31604374)

They tried to buy me one, but I don't want a smartphone. I want my phone to make phone calls and texts. The latter because it's handy to have my systems email me text alerts when something's going wrong.
I had a hell of a time convincing them to go away and leave me alone.

Re:Nobody! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604988)

Smartphones [i]do[/i] make calls and texts, you know.

Re:Nobody! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605040)

So you got them off of your lawn?

Re:Nobody! (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31607010)

Same deal here. I was supposed to change to a Blackberry, like everyone else. Fortunately Verizon coverage sucks where I live so I was able to keep the Motorola flip phone. Longer battery life, and all I get are texts from my systems. No email BS.

Oh shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31605120)

"Those fucking IT punks from work followed me home and are on the lawn, Martha. Again. Get my shotgun."

Heck, I work for a mobile phone company.... (1)

Icepick_ (25751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605430)

And they make me pay for my own service. Discounted, but I still have to pay. The phone is mine.

And because of this, I can refuse to receive work email on it. Come 5 pm, I'm out, and I'll be back tomorrow. No answering mail at 2 am for me.

VPN / Wireless office (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605594)

You can't have cheap intra-company calls and VPN Value Added Services if you're just paying the employee's bill.

My employer owns mine.... (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31605660)

...and pays for all calls. Nice little tax break for me.

Libertarian response (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31606476)

Not that I'm one of those extremists but this is pretty well clear cut, despite the obfuscation by telco's, HR and so forth

Who paid for it? That's who owns it.

Now if you are being compensated by your employer then you are contracting your property to the employer, the employer can place stipulations on the contract which you are free not to agree to and not sign the contract. This is quite clear in Australian contract and tax law. I own the device, employer contracts the device from me which is why I need and ABN (Australian Business Number) to be a part of an employee lease scheme.

For small business in Australia this kind of thing is becoming quite popular for laptops, phones, cars and other work related devices. Of course the contract stipulates things like warranty lengths, specifications and the right to wipe all data when leaving the company but this is made known before signing the contract so nothing underhanded is going on. Tax benifits are good also despite the fact they clamped down on it a few years ago.
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