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Blackpool ICT boss: BYOD doesn't save money

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Rolling out bring your own device (BYOD) policy is costing Blackpool Council more than it would to provide the mobiles itself, according to the local authority's head of ICT services.

Councils considering implementing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives should not think of them as a money-saving exercise, Tony Doyle, head of ICT services at Blackpool council, has warned.

Since starting its BYOD scheme, the council has realised that it is costing more to allow staff to use their own devices than corporate ones once additional requirements such as mobile device management and help-desk support are factored in, Doyle said.

"I don't believe the right reason to introduce a BYOD policy is to make cost savings. My sense at the moment is that it's costing us more because of the extra burden on the helpdesk, and the cost of software to manage the devices," he told the InfoSec conference in London.

"I also think you've got to factor in that if it all goes wrong, the local authority may fall foul of the information commissioner for a breach and get a £500,000 fine."

However, the council is reaping other benefits from BYOD, such as office space rationalisation, including a reduction in the number of desks it provides, the introduction of hotdesking, and flexible working.

Local authorities hoping to introduce similar schemes should view it as a way of supporting employees and helping to bring about job satisfaction, according to Doyle.

Blackpool's supplier, Citrix, offers both a high-security domain and low-security domain for the council's applications, but only allows BYOD users access to the latter, giving them access to email, secure browser, and a staff telephone directory.

"We think the risks are too great [to open up access to the higher security domain,]" Doyle added.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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