P&G Allows Personal Computer Use

Computer World reports that Procter & Gamble, ranked 20th on the Fortune 500 list, is letting several hundred workers bring in and use their own laptops as part of a workplace experiment.   This pilot program is based on a simple idea: many of P&G’s younger employees would rather use their own laptops than corporate-issued systems.  <GACK!!  Does anyone see a potential security problem, just below the surface of this?  What happens when young Johnny Upandcoming downloads a virus, and then accidentally brings it in to share with all of his colleagues?  What happens when Judy Nogood starts copying company secrets to her personal system?>

“The employees love it,” said Jim Fortner, vice president of IT development and operations at P&G’s business services division.  He acknowledged that a number of legal and security issues have not yet been sorted out.  <OF COURSE they love it.  Unless there is a major missing piece to this article, you’ve just handed over full control of your customers’ data.>

The article states that one reason to consider allowing employees to use personal devices in the workplace is to bridge the expectations of younger and older employees. That way, companies can create an atmosphere that helps retain younger workers, while keeping older workers happy.  <GACK!!  Just pay them more.  They will be probably be happy!>

To mitigate potential problems, Fortner said P&G got its legal and human resources teams involved early to consider the pilot program’s implications.  For instance, what happens if the company has to get information off an employee-owned laptop to respond to a lawsuit?   To head off potential problems, the pilot involves junior employees and new hires unlikely to be handling sensitive company information. “They are in a low-risk category,” Fortner said.  <WTF????>

Fortner feels certain the pilot program may well become standard practice at P&G, helping to reduce the cost of corporate PC support.  The article goes on to suggest that  there’s a potential solution to the potential security and legal issues.  Cloud computing.   When work is done in the cloud, “you care less about what they bring in on their laptops.”  <GACK!!!  Does not compute!!!  Please let there be a follow-up item on this.  Please…>

ComputerWorld Article