IBM has embraced — nearly — the growing “bring your own device” trend of allowing employees to buy and use their own smartphones and tablets for work tasks, said IBM’s CTO for mobility, Bill Bodin.
By the end of the year, 100,000 IBM employees will be able to connect handheld devices of their choosing to IBM’s internal networks, which have recently been fortified to provide enhanced mobile security, Bodin said in an interview with Computerworld. Another 100,000 employees will be brought on board in 2012, for a total of 200,000 people, or about half of IBM’s global workforce.
Based on recent consumer buying trends, Bodin said he expects that the majority of those 200,000 workers will pick an iPhone, an Android smartphone or a tablet. The employees will pay for their own devices and monthly service plans, but they will receive IBM’s guidance and technical support.
Users will also be required to load IBM’s agent software on their gear for secure access to IBM’s systems, email and other functions. Initially, IBM workers will have email, contacts and calendar access through IBM Lotus Traveler, Bodin said. In addition to installing agent software on each device, IBM will enhance security through the use of VPNs and by requiring passwords for access to systems. The company will also deploy endpoint management tools that will allow IT managers to wipe data off devices that are lost or stolen.”