Cambridgeshire County Council has started allowing a handful of people to use their own handsets and is looking at tablets as well.
Alan Shields, strategy and architecture team manager for the council, explained that two elements have come together to make this a workable idea. The first was that he became aware of the amount of council personnel who were carrying two devices. “One was the corporate BlackBerry and the other was usually a high-end Android or iPhone,” he said. “People were starting to ask, why can’t I use my own phone instead?”
A major factor that made it possible to co-operate with this was that two products came onto the market that were approved by CESG, the body that evaluates security for IT products in the public sector. Without this approval no council could have approved. Cambridgeshire went through a tendering process and alighted on software company Excitor with its dynamic mobile exchange suite of applications. The software creates a secure sandbox on a user's device that can be controlled by the local authority without interfering with personal data held on the device.
The four week pilot will finish at the end of April, and by the third week Cambridgeshire expects to have a good idea of whether the rollout will be extended and if it will renew its DME licence - a decision that will come down to employees' reaction to the BYOD scheme. If permanently implemented, individual departments would have to pay a charge to cover the running costs of the system.
There may also be potential for the scheme to be extended to allow staff to have access to additional resources if the pilot is successful.
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