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Beyond adding security, strong BYOD strategy drives user satisfaction

In part 2 of a interview with Dell Software CIO Carol Fawcett, she makes the case for CIO involvement in BYOD strategy.

In part one of this interview, Dell Software CIO Carol Fawcett talked about developing a BYOD strategy centered on user need and reinforced by access and identity management technology. Here she talks about the elements required to keep customers happy, corporate data protected and the auditors at bay -- and why bring your own device (BYOD) is very much a job for the CIO.

Carol FawceetCarol Fawcett

What were the most important aspects you needed in place organizationally and in terms of resources to make your BYOD strategy successful?

Carol Fawcett: Organizationally, it starts with and centers on security. You definitely need strong security team members. We use virtual teams a lot because we're very global in nature. We recognize security is a 24/7/365 proposition; so for our BYOD policy, we set up global security teams and asked for their guidance on what we should be doing as far as policies and guidelines, and technically what we can do to make sure that we're able to pass security audits going forward.

Also important to any BYOD strategy is executive support. Without executive support, you're going to have a hard time enforcing anything, as well as just realizing the gains that you'll receive from doing a program like this.

As an IT organization we're a service organization. The most important thing for us is that our customers are happy.

Carol Fawcett,
software CIO, Dell Inc.

On the resources side, you want to pick the number of devices that you will physically support, because in the end, you do have to put a fence around that. If you pick 10 devices you're most likely going to hit on 80% of your population as far as what they use. You want to make sure that your IT department knows internally exactly what it is you support and how far you support that particular device; otherwise you'll just be increasing the number of resources an IT organization needs in order to support all the different kinds of devices that could come into an environment.

How did having the ground rules of a BYOD policy affect users?

Fawcett: As an IT organization, we're a service organization. The most important thing for us is that our customers are happy. If you tell them they can only have so much space on their desktop, for example, they can turn around and they're going to store all their documents out on -- you name it -- a product like Dropbox or a cloud provider. You want to keep your internal customers happy, so that they continue to come back to you and come back to you for services.

How do you measure customer happiness regarding something like BYOD strategy?

Fawcett: One way you judge those kind of things [is] on the number of help desk tickets you get, because you know people are unhappy when they're calling the help desk. We started noticing fewer calls to the help desk [after implementing BYOD].

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For us, this translated into reduced downtime for users because they weren't coming to us for additional help, and in general they were just happier, more productive users. Employees who can connect anytime, anywhere from pretty much any device are a lot happier, because they can get that access they need to the data to get their jobs done.

Another big one: For the employees using virtualized desktops, it is wonderful for them to know their desktop is being backed up every single day. If they accidentally lose a hard drive or whatever, it is no big deal -- we've got it right out in the data center, and we can get that back for them in a heartbeat.

Some people are of the opinion that CIOs shouldn't get involved in BYOD strategy. What's your take?

Fawcett: You're going to be held responsible for it at the end of the day. That laptop that gets stolen with important information on it will end up being your issue. So, you can sit back and pretend like you're not going to get your hands dirty with BYOD, and wait until it comes and hits you upside the head -- or you can make sure that you're part of it and you're in support of it, so you know what's going on. This is especially important when it comes to the policies and guidelines, to make sure the team working on them is going in the direction that is right for the company.

Obviously, everybody is going to have a different attitude toward [BYOD]. If you're a financials company or you're in government or even health care, you're probably not going to want it at all, quite frankly, because of who you are. But in my eyes, no matter what company I would go to, I would want to be part of it, knowing that in the end I'm going to be held responsible for it anyway. You've got to be in there.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, Features Writer.

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