– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

10 things to consider when integrating consumer electronics into corporate IT infrastructure

In the fast-moving world of business, it’s vital for companies to keep up from a technology standpoint. This means that a certain amount of investment must be channeled into the IT department. This of course means that IT staff need to be equipped with the fastest and best equipment available on budget. When so much focus is now put on computer technology, it seems unthinkable that any company would neglect investing in their IT department.

We’re not talking about decking their office out with a full complement of coaster furniture (although we’re sure they’d enjoy that), rather that they have the best technology available to them. This may, of course, mean that some consumer electronics find their way into the IT infrastructure of the corporation. Whether that means iPods, tablet PCs, smartphones, or any other tech, sometimes consumer electronics can make a huge positive difference to IT operations. Below you’ll find 10 things you should consider before deciding on bringing consumer tech into your IT department…

10. Time-wasting

Giving your IT team the latest smartphones to communicate better is a great idea, but you need to be careful about monitoring their usage. Yes, you want this tech to help them do their jobs better, but you don’t want them to be playing Angry Birds all day. Before you start handing out iPhones or HTC Desires, be sure you can keep a lid on any time-wasting that may occur as a result.

9. Theft from the workplace

When a company starts investing in the latest ‘must-have’ consumer gadgets, they can unfortunately make themselves the target of thieves. Where there are expensive items, there are eager eyes. You can avoid theft from the workplace in a number of ways, so be sure you’re covered before you deploy the latest consumer tech.

8. Security of internal documents and files

Lots of companies give their employees the latest laptops, phones, or other gadgets, because they are fit for purpose – they help get the job done well. But if your employees take these gadgets home, they’re also taking files and documents which may be dangerous in the wrong hands – so make sure you have measures in place to keep your data safe.

7. Protection of company logins/passwords

As with the above point, your new consumer tech may be password protected, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe. Be sure your employees don’t have ‘auto-login’ or similar enabled or you could be making your company vulnerable.

6. Key benefits to the company

Before handing out iPads to all, make sure that they will benefit the company. It’s very tempting to get ahead of your competitors in terms of tech, but you must be sure it’s worth your initial investment. Nobody likes to waste money, after all.

5. Non-consumer alternatives

Consumer tech is great, but sometimes companies release corporate versions which are more suited to the workplace. Operating systems, for example, frequently provide ‘professional’ versions for the workplace. Do your homework so you invest in the right product for you.

4. How much time will be dedicated to these devices?

This goes hand-in-hand with time-wasting. Will these new devices be worth the time they take up? Try to balance the benefits they provide to your IT team with the amount of time they take up in a working day. A test run is a good way to be sure of this.

3. Technical support

Consumer electronics usually have dedicated tech support, but not necessarily tailored to businesses. If you have a large scale issue, you want to be sure you’re covered – so do your research first!

2. Where to draw the line

Know the difference between a useful business gadget and a ‘boy’s toy’. Your employees will welcome the latest tech, but you need to be sure it’s for the right reasons. Your business success should be your first priority.

1. General security

The number one consideration should always be the safety and security of your company. If consumer electronics open you up to hacking or loss of sensitive data – simply do not take the risk, look at corporate alternatives instead.

Note: Eddielogic thanks Susan Black, our guest author for this post.

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One Comment

  1. Ditto for managers and executives. They seem to have attention deficit disorder. Constantly looking down at their Blackberries as if awaiting a encrypted message from the NSA.