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IT AND HR? O


IT’S TIME TO BREAK THE ICE


ne handles your training and development and the other handles all your IT needs – so surely there’s no collaboration


between the HR office and the IT guys, is there? Well, the blurring lines between personal and business technology means we’re seeing IT managers and HR teams coming together to develop integrated policies to help address the influx of smart devices making their way into the workplace. As the smart device revolution makes its


way into more and more offices across the UK, the number of employees bringing personal devices into the workplace is on the rise. Tis has got IT departments thinking about the tools they’ll need to ensure these new ways of working can be implemented securely. Tese forward thinking businesses are puting plans in place by investing in new tools such as Unified Communications to ensure remote teams remain connected and engaged. Interestingly, speaking to 5,000 company


bosses recently, they told us that more than half (60 per cent) of their employees will work from home within the next decade. So the CIO’s priority is ensuring this is done securely. However, it’s not just about potentially


virus-ridden devices being plugged into networks and doing damage to core infrastructure. HR managers aim to ensure that the organisation meets its corporate objectives by maximising the commitment, skills, capabilities and morale of the staff of the organisation. Tis means its reasonable for the HR department to implement and monitor these working practices by assessing how they best work for the company. So how do you monitor and protect what


your staff do with their personal device now that they’re using them to work? Well, savvy businesses are puting practices in place to ensure a fit and effective service for the company. Today’s security tools are becoming more intelligent. Ancient firewalls, with their


“Sharing expertise and


realising how each function could help the other will


create a more sustainable organisation for everyone”


rigid, company-wide rules about what can and can’t be done, are increasingly being given the cold shoulder by forward thinking CIOs. Aſter all, if what they’re trying to do is all about innovation, it stands to reason that the way CIOs protect their networks needs to be equally as innovative. Many businesses are now looking at the


new, smart, unified threat management (UTM) firewalls as a way to get best of both


worlds. Tese are secure but also flexible enough to allow staff to work in a style that suits them, whether that’s at home or on the move with a mobile device. Where traditional firewalls typically have


an all-or-nothing approach, smart firewalls are puting the CIO back in the driving seat. Tey can pick and choose the apps and social media sites needed and keep any that pose a threat out of reach. New apps and websites will undoubtedly


come on to the scene and gain favour over others. But when this happens, the CIO can adjust the smart firewall setings accordingly, and hey presto, the new technology is allowed in and the CIO can continue to innovate the business. Having taken care of security, a structured


protocol of what’s acceptable and what isn’t on your network needs to be put in place. Confusion around company policy will only result in security risks, so it’s critical that things are kept simple and clear. Tey need to be all encompassing and range from advice on seting up passcode locks when devices are dormant, through to instructions on enabling the technology that allows devices to be wiped should they be lost. Te fact is, the consumerisation of


workplace IT isn’t going anywhere and it’s only going to get more common. In today’s business climate, opening a dialogue and starting a partnership between HR and IT can only be a good thing. Sharing expertise and realising how each


function could help the other, whether it’s creating a culture where staff have the upmost work freedom or to get people higher up the business agenda, will create a more sustainable organisation for everyone. What kind of company wouldn’t want that?


Duncan Higgins, product and marketing director Virgin Media Business


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