Laying down the law on iPads in the office: 10 tips for an ideal BYO policy

From what to ask finance to how to deal with lost kit...

Smartphones at work

As more workers want to bring in their own devices to use at work, CIOs need to put a strong BYO policy in placePhoto: Shutterstock

The days when the IT department decided which devices workers could use in the office are coming to an end.

The future of the IT department is one that supports the tablets, smartphones and laptops bought and chosen by the end user, as the consumerisation of IT becomes a real issue for businesses.

Already CIOs are getting ready for this future: 94 per cent of CIOs plan to have a bring-your-own (BYO) computer policy in place by 2013, according to a Citrix survey. And with the potential for BYO tech to generate hidden costs and security risks, getting the BYO policy right is essential.

To help organisations manage devices brought from home, has put together a list of the 10 things CIOs need to take into account when developing a BYO policy.

1. Don't think one size fits all

CIOs should not assume the same BYO policies will work in different organisations, or even within different departments of the same organisation. Instead, they should carefully tailor their BYO policy to their specific organisation, according to Nick Jones, research VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Jones said existing BYO policies range from the hands-off approach, where the enterprise simply provides money for the kit and nothing else, to more intermediate models where the employee owns the device but the enterprise has management rights on it.

BYO policies should also be flexible to accommodate new products, according to Clive Longbottom, service director at Quocirca.

"Any policy and approach must be able to embrace new devices coming through, with new operating systems and architectures - abstraction is the key," Longbottom said.

He also warned that CIOs should be flexible in supporting devices that may have to work in different environments.

"Be aware of context - a device being used in the middle of Moscow through public wi-fi will have more problems than one coming in through a wired connection within a company's own property," Longbottom said.

2. Identify motivations for BYO and balance goals

There is likely to be a range of motivations driving the implementation of a BYO policy, and Gartner's Jones said CIOs should make sure they are aware of each of these areas.

"You should really try to balance social goals, business goals, financial goals and risk management," he said.

If CIOs don't do this and end up prioritising one motivation more than the rest, Jones argues the BYO policy could "get it amazingly right in one area and compromise another".

For instance, if the main aim of a BYO policy is around staff retention...