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Is Your Personal Device Personal?

Richard Nass

November 13, 2012

3 Min Read
Is Your Personal Device Personal?

This month's question on our LinkedIn System & Product Design Engineering Group had to do with your personal mobile device(s).

In two parts, the question was, "Do you use your personal mobile device in your plant, and does your company expect you to use your own iPad or smartphone for company use?" Another question we could have asked but didn't is, "Do you use your company mobile device for personal reasons?" I bet many of us are guilty of that one.

One reader says that using his personal device makes his life easier:

It just took me five minutes to connect and solve an errant parameter problem at the mill using my personal iPad over a 3G network connection. I am championing this type of use and would hope to be reimbursed by the company for my efforts and expenses since the benefits are extremely obvious.

Another reader, Walker Reynolds, uses his personal smartphone and iPad for company business, up to and including troubleshooting, data collection, research, and trialing on the plant floor:

I'm happy to use company-provided tools if the other techs in conjunction with the management team determine the cost is worth the benefit. I have already come to that conclusion. However, I'm normally ahead of the curve when it comes to these things. As such, I will continue to use my personal tools to benefit the operation as a whole.

Says Thierry Vuillaume:

Use of an iPad or iPhone in plant operation is taking place as applications are being developed by vendors to ease the maintenance or training activities of the personnel. Use of these devices benefits both the company and operators or plant managers. But these are to be corporate tools and not private for cyber security issues. Smartphone or tablet use should be limited to the building area, not in the field.

Jeffery Frost says:

When I began at my position with my present company, it took close to a month to get my new laptop. I was told I would also be getting a company phone. I used my personal smartphone in the meantime -- necessity is the mother of invention. After a while, I got tired of asking for the company phone; I had bigger fish to fry.

From the opposite perspective comes Fernando Chua:

We issue corporate electronic devices to our employees. We insist that they use these official devices for company business only. We do not expect them to use their personal devices. And they are warned that any data accumulated in these devices belong to the company. They are not allowed to format the HD or blow away the data in the memory prior to turning them in when they leave. They use these devices for personal reason at their own risk.

One reader, Steve Leavelle, says:

In general, I don't use my smartphone for company business unless absolutely necessary. If I'm in the office, I will use an office phone to make all business-related calls. My mobile and home phone numbers are available to those in our organization that need to be able to contact me if I'm not in the office. But I don't publish those numbers in the company phone directory. My outlook is that if the company wants me to have a mobile number accessible to any company employee, they should provide me with a company-paid phone. I do not give out my mobile or home phone numbers to clients.

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