Councils ‘need to get to grips with BYOD agenda’

The number of staff connecting to council networks using their personal devices is only going to grow, despite security concerns, according to a new report.

The study by Socitm, the professional body for public sector ICT, said that the consumerisation of ICT has created employee demand to use their own technology for work

It concluded that the trend to “bring your own device” (BYOD) is unlikely to fade from fashion and that councils need to work out solutions to allow for it.

Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight, said: “Individuals have become tech savvy and will look to circumvent ICT policies if they feel they are being hindered from doing their job.”

Advocates of BYOD argue that it makes employees happier and more productive, enables the cost savings of flexible working, and shifts the costs of acquisition and renewal of devices to employees, according to the briefing.

On the flip side, allowing employees’ own devices onto council networks presents a huge security headache for organisations.

The report said “Users tend to focus on performing their jobs, not security, and may inadvertently allow sensitive files to leave the network without encryption, resulting in data loss or corruption.

“Others may also download popular apps that contain malware, posing a risk to the corporate network.”

A number of organisations in the private and public sectors are deploying Mobile device management solutions to securely enable BYOD, the report added.

Discussions are continuing between Socitm, the Local Government Association and the Cabinet Office on BYOD other PSN connection issues.

Cabinet Office compliance requirements for connection to the Public Services Network (PSN) have been disproportionally applied by some councils, the report found, and compliance guidelines should be reviewed.

Adapting to a BYOD approach should involve human resources, finance and legal officers, the report concluded.

Colin Marrs

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