The first step toward bridging the technology generation gap is recognizing that a potential problem exists. Patricia Titus, vice president and chief information security officer at Unisys, says that the company is attempting to swim with the current rather than fight it. "We felt that it was necessary to adopt a consumer IT framework that enables the workforce to be more productive," she says. (For more on this topic, read the full CIO Insight report "Managing a Multigenerational Workforce.")
Unisys is developing a BYOD (bring your own device) program that accommodates workers but also protects the company's interests and security requirements. Employees can use a smartphone or tablet of their choice as long as they abide by an acceptable-use agreement. Among the terms: Users must allow a public-key infrastructure device certificate to be installed on their smartphone along with remote wipe software. They must also acknowledge that they understand that their personal device may be confiscated for unspecified periods in the event of a legal hold.
The company is now rolling out the BYOD program in North America. Other countries will follow. "We must take into consideration the laws and privacy requirements of every country where we have employees," Titus says. She doesn't expect the task to be onerous. "Smartphone technology and many smaller mobile devices are really just data replicators," she explains. "We focus on the data rather than the device and educate employees about the risks, including the use of social media."
Titus believes that the program is a valuable exercise in identifying policies and procedures that accommodate today's workplace. "It's no longer possible to build a fortress," she says. "You have to figure out how to protect your digital assets, while allowing employees to use the device of their choice."