Should you let employees use their devices on your network?There are dozens of questions you should ask if your business has been bitten by the Portable/Tablet bug.

How is the tablet or device to be used?  Inside or outside the four walls?  Does your device need to survive a drop to a hard surface such as a manufacturing floor or parking lot?  Will the end user be around fluids where there will be a risk of spillage?   Do you need to use it in a freezer or cold storage facility, or how about a hot manufacturing floor; might it be left in a closed vehicle?  Do you want or need to put the device on a forklift or a vehicle, or will it be hand carried by a worker?

How about, will you let employes use their own devices to tie into your network as well?

Having employees able to use their own devices can answer some of the above questions but IBM has discovered that there are a number of additional challenges to letting the staff onto your network, and just the typical problems of compatibility and access.  Security takes on a whole new hue that may cut into any potential cost benefits.

The trend toward employee-owned devices isn’t saving IBM any money, says Jeanette Horan, who is IBM’s chief information officer and oversees all the company’s internal use of IT. Instead, she says, it has created new challenges for her department of 5,000 people, because employees’ devices are full of software that IBM doesn’t control.

You’re probably not IBM, but you may already be confronting the inevitability of portability, and the desire of employees to use their own devices won’t be far behind.   This just shows you that even IBM will run up against issues they might not have anticipated.

But how you connect to and control your network is critical to your operational success.  You want the connectivity but you don’t want to compromise data integrity or security in the process.  You’ll need to ask questions, but do you even know what questions to ask?

The Device buffet does not have to give you IT indigestion.

Our suggestion is to find an industry expert with experience in wireless productivity to help you figure out what you don’t know yet.  They will also be able to look at where you operation is, and give you straight answers about how best to get it to where you’d like it to be, and even provide options for revery point in between, including if or how to include employee mobile devices in the mix.