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Consumerization of IT Unstoppable, Says Orange

The consumerisation of IT is an unavoidable phenomenon that will force businesses to rethink their security policies and empower their employees, according to telecommunications giant Orange.

Michael Welbrock, head of data marketing at Orange Business Solutions, told Check Point's roundtable on the security implications of the consumerisation of IT in London: "I think the consumerisation is unstoppable. We are almost in a position where we don't have the [management] tools for this."

Welbrock said that the enterprise is facing two main changes.

"Business really needs to establish what information is important and what they need to control that. It is not about locking down every device and every body of information," he said.

"It's also about empowering responsibly - to make employees responsible for the device, and increasing personal productivity needs to be encouraged."

Bob Tarzey, an analyst at Quocirca, agreed: "If an employee has two devices, then they are going to take less care with the company device. I think it will become like a company car allowance. So we [as a business] give you so much for you to get a mobile device, and as part of that contract, you let us access it for security reasons," he said.

Although traditional businesses are used to locking down devices, to limit employees' use of them, Nick Lowe, regional director of Northern Europe at Check Point, said he did not believe business can continue to do this.

"Control of the device is being challenged," he said. "Control is moving to the session [when and from where the corporate devices are accessed]. There will certainly be less interest in the final point of delivery, that is, the phone."

In terms of the use of social media and networks in the enterprise, Lowe believes there a responsibility on both sides - the employee as well as the enterprise.

It was concluded at the roundtable that businesses needed to implement well-communicated security policies in an effort to control their usage, and avoid cases such as the RBS worker who said she was sacked and lost out on a £6,000 after posting a message on Facebook about her upcoming redundancy payment.

But Lowe admitted that it might not be easy.

"At Check Point, we have been looking at application usage, and 75 percent of our bandwidth is for non office-based services - it was for consumer oriented apps. How do you control that?

"Our HR department uses LinkedIn regularly to search for new candidates, so maybe you need to have a usage policy to control it in certain parts of the workforce," he suggested.

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