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Justification for receiving a laptop instead of a desktop

By DemRoyer ·
I manage the network infrastructure for a medium-sized private company (just under 100 employees), and have been responsible over the years for deploying the desktop environment. One of my fellow Technology managers has had a laptop for years, and requested an upgrade to a new "convertible" (Tablet) laptop. This request prompted my director to ask me for a list of requirements that a user would have to meet in order to justify receiving a laptop. She is afraid that everyone in the company will decide they want a laptop instead of a desktop ("because they're cool"), and wants specific guidelines put in place so that the decision to grant a laptop or not is based on a consistent set of rules rather than perceived favoritism. Since very few people in my company actually travel out of the office for business (which I see as the number one reason for a laptop), laptops have always been a bit of a luxury, given only to Executives, telecommuters, and a chosen few managers who have managed to get them approved in the past. Does anyone know of a standard set of guidelines for determining who should or shouldn't receive a laptop? I know the prices have come down, but they are often still significantly more than an equivalent desktop, especially since no one wants to skimp on warranties, power, or features. I looked around the Net a bit, but nothing obvious jumped out at me, so any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Demian

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If they have an excessive amount of programs.

by cat1service In reply to Justification for receivi ...

I used to work for a huge company and gave alot of users laptops. Laptops have come a long way but they still dont possess the processing capability and stability that desktops can. I noticed with the laptops we were always running into issues with huge apps like SAP or Citrix even on the client end. Alot of users were submitting requests for more laptop memory.

It is not a huge issue but one to think about. Consider it a gift that they asked you to do this. Most of the time they will just tell you to order laptops no matter how bad it will mess up network operations.

Good Luck man

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Laptop

by mjd420nova In reply to If they have an excessive ...

We don't issue laptops to individual users they
have a desktop and the laptops are location
oriented and don't leave a specific area.
Company data is not allowed out of the facility.
NO HOME WORK

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laptop

by joco_ph In reply to Laptop

we only issue laptop to Senior Personnel... That is Management Team Member and up.

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Laptop

by cherokee_tribute In reply to Laptop

Excellent point

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LAPTOPS=SECURITY RISK FOR USERS AND COMPANY

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Justification for receivi ...

Most companies have very strict rules about not allowing their users to have laptops in the office or bring their own personal laptops into the office. The issue here is security and from multiple standpoints.

1. If the user copies corporate data onto the laptop and the laptop is stolen, then sensitive corporate data and/or trade secrets may be compromised

2. The user can use confidential corporate data to profit from it by selling it to a competitor. Although this is uncommon and can result in criminal prosecution and a major lawsuit against the employee, it does happen.

3. The user can infect the laptop with a virus or spyware and then introduce this virus/worm/spyware into the corporate network when they plug it in

The last job I had did not allow users to take data home with them. If they did, it was checked out of the document management system onto a floppy disk and there was a record of it on the system. If users needed to work from home or abroad, they had the ability to login via a Citrix session and feel as if they are in the office. No data was ever exchanged between their personal laptops or desktops, and all the PCs' in the office were locked down to the point that they were dumb terminals without access to local drives or USB ports and such.

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indeed

by maelorin In reply to LAPTOPS=SECURITY RISK FOR ...

my previous employer only made laptops availableto each team because dragging a desktop around law courts is insanely impractical.

each machine is allocated to the most senior team member. those babies were tracked by hungry hawks.

accidents and mistakes do happen. which is where good passwords and encryption come in. as well as physical security measures.

as the tech nerd on the team, i usually got the job of babysitting 'the beep box'. it wasn't worth my sanity to lose track of it.

that said, i agree with you on all the points you raise. laptops *can* be a security risk, and also a o&hs issue.

like everything else in ict, and business, the need must be compelling. and the staff must also be properly trained - with solid guidelines and policies. contingency plans are essential.

data was never kept on the machine itself. large collections were carried on cd or dvd discs, editable documents on secure pendrives. and the joy of working in a team is that each of us made a point of watching each other's backs.

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& that's why users hate IT

by MiddlingMgr In reply to LAPTOPS=SECURITY RISK FOR ...

"Most" companies don't allow users to take laptops home? Could be, I really don't know. Do you really know that for a fact? I would be surprised if that is true.

Why wouldn't you let a user take a laptop home? That's one of the primary uses for having a laptop. Companies with IT policies like this are why Dilbert calls the department head the Preventer of Information Services or something along that line.

Sure they could steal corporate data and sell it. They could just as easily steal it from the office, too, so what is the point? Give people the data so they can work with it. If they are willing to put in extra work from home, why would you want to stop that?

We do the justification by the seat of our pants. If there is favoritism, then there is favorititism, life will go on. We just make sure that if people are to connect to the network (via VPN) that they are using a company laptop, so we know it has the proper antivirus and spyware software on it that is regularly updated.

I properly should implement encrypting the data, however, in case of theft, which someone had suggested - thanks.

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Agreed

by dave_callaghan In reply to & that's why users hate I ...

The key word in Information Services is Services. Those that want to severely restrict laptops are overly concerned security (control freeks?) and forgetting that other employees have a job to do. If they want to steal data that they have access to, forcing them on laptops will not prevent the theft. Paper, floppies, CDRWs, thumb drives all provide the ability to steal information just as much as a laptop would.

The real security issue with laptops is theft. However, unless we are talking national security issues here, I don't think the risk is anywhere near what many IT people think it is. The 99.999% of laptop theft is for the hardware. That stolen machine is going to be resold to a pawn shop or out of the back of some guy's trunk. I doubt very much that the new "owner" will give a damn about the budget projections or customer lists on the hard drive. If you are that paranoid about that 0.001% risk, I'd suggest you redirect your attention to real issues like power outtages and spikes that are much more likely to have a $ impact. Remember that measuring risk is a combination of likelihood and dollar loss.

The payoff from providing laptops to users so they can work nights and weekends for no extra pay is significant.

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Laptops

by geraldkiii In reply to & that's why users hate I ...

I have worked for a few very large corporations and just about everyone had a laptop. Desktops are for people that do not travel or need to work long hours. Say you have work that you have to catch up on, you are more willing to catch up on the work at home for FREE than you are staying at work and getting overtime. The luxuries of home. In the case of salary then you are always working. Just about everyone I work with now has a laptop. There are more PRO's than cons with laptops. They are just powerful, light weight and the battery life is a bit better than the old days. Also you can work from just about anywhere. McDonalds, planes, relatives house when they are boring you with meaningless chit chat. Say you are having server troubles and are at the house. How will you check the server issues out without a laptop? You have to get dressed and drive into work. Now if you have a laptop you can just turn the laptop on and VPN into your network. Let the work begin. I say people are more likely to steal your boyfriend/girlfriend than to steal company data. Of course laptops do come up missing a lot. That is the big CON.

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Agree completely...

by mharris672 In reply to & that's why users hate I ...

Excellent comments...In today's business environment, fewer people are constantly required to do more work. Commuting and working from home are almost a necessity. As a Training Manager, I can work round-the-clock, and still remain behind on numerous projects. Utilizing a flash drive (1GB) just isn't enough. I need access to everything...whenever I'm out of my office. Laptops with docking stations should be increasingly implemented. Security practices can be maintained...and people can be held accountable.
M.H.

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