Embrace Consumerization in the Enterprise

Fireside Chat with Ty Smallwood, Chief Security Officer, Medical Center of Central Georgia – Gartner Security Summit 2011, Washington DC.

According to Gartner, the consumerization of IT is the most significant trend affecting the IT Industry in the next ten years. As the Security Officer of one of the largest health care organizations in the U.S., how do you feel about this trend? How is it affecting your organization?

There has definitely been an impact on the organization, both from a policy process and procedure perspective. The cost to accommodate consumerization is always a factor.

Consumerization brings in some problems – you just mentioned the cost – how about security risks and management?

Security risk and policies are always a top concern. The management of those devices brings in the extra costs. To accommodate multiple devices, we have to buy the product, test the product ourselves, in order to have answers.

And this is somehow different than what happened in the past when your organization, the IT department, would decide what technology makes sense for the company. I’m pretty sure that the fact that you’re taking seriously consumerization implies there is some business values there. What other business drivers for your organization to look into consumer technology.

Well, first of all, the iPad was a significant impact and it was forced on us namely from physicians because it is a perfect tool to look at x-rays, have access to documents, at their fingertips at any time. That was a driving force for us. That’s where the pressure point and the technology gives them some great tools to do their job.

So it is definitely worth the time and the effort to try to unlock this business potential. How do you actually do that? How do you embrace consumerization? It is about policies? IT tools?

It is policies – policies had to be modified. We had to modify our infrastructure to support the iPad. We had to – we mentioned Trend Micro’s Mobile Security product today. We’re Beta testing version 7.0 of the product to accommodate the iPads, Androids and newer technologies and we’re having to make some change both also on, on our customer support center to provide the support they need for the clinicians.

So, it looks like Consumerization is for real, it is here to stay and your organization is embracing consumerization as a way to unlock its business potential. This requires new flexible policies and the right security and IT management tools in place.

About Cesare Garlati
Co-Founder, Hex Five Security, Inc. - Chief Technologist prpl Foundation

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