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BYOD Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:26 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item BYOD






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Post #1237679
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:46 PM
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In theory, I suppose devices are fine, but licenses can be a problem. Visual Studio? MSDN? SQL Toolbelt?

What about software developed using these resources? The usual stipulation is that software developed on your employers dime and using their equipment or licences belongs to them unless otherwise stipulated.

Then there are the situations where the device has malware which exposes the employers details. Wait for the rash of new security exposures due to lost smartphones with password caches etc.

All the arguments which apply to BYOD also apply in reverse to a corporate. The hardware is cheap. Tax write-offs are available in a number of jurisdictions.

The article you linked to points out that you provide your own shoes, which is a specious argument. When a particular class of protective footwear is required for you to complete your job then I think you have a right to expect that your employer will help you acquire them. As for a car, if I am required to use my car for company business then they get an expense claim.

I'd be far more interested in working with a virtualised desktop on what amounts to a specialised RDP connection. That way when my employer wants me to log in from home I can, and can access my work environment.

Accountants use Excel on their PCs to do their work. Are they expected to BYOD too? What about call-centre employees?

To the original author I would say that these days a company needs to consider what it is offering or the prospective employees won't even bother to say "Hello", let alone say "Buh-Bye". Getting the employee you want with the skills you want means offering the right package.

Edit for spelling

2nd Edit: If my employer said "You provide the hardware and I will provide a VM image for you to use while you are working." I would be far more inclined to discuss it.
Post #1237681
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:30 AM
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While I'd like it, I can not see it working out in theory nor in practice.

You mention security and I believe that could be overcome but it would come at a price.
Security is also a two edged sword because some security programs and depending on settings takes up a lot of resources from the computer, I'd never use norton for instance on my home computer. Then there are also some companies that makes use of key loggers which I definably am against. That might even be illegal but it has still come out that some companies makes use of those sorts of programs.

While security can be overcome, the larger issue would be support. If the machine breaks down or you need an upgrade of ram or something like that, it can be hell with every employee having a different computer.
That is one part, the larger concern I have however is the lack of knowledge and understanding from the average employee.
Post #1237699
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:47 AM
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"Getting the sack" used to refer to a tradesman being handed back his tools in a bag.

A tradesmans tools were often built up over their working lifespan starting with their apprenticeship. Often part of the apprenticeship was to build the tools that they would be using throughtout their lives. Once an apprentice graduated they would have a thorough understanding of their trade from the ground upwards.

I can see the time coming where we are expected to turn up to the job with certain basics but as stated earlier, hardware is relatively cheap, the software costs are what kills you.

I know if you run a business you can offset certain costs against tax. I'm not sure if this could be applied to individuals in organisations or whether this would require a shift in employment practises and law so we all become self-employed. This would mean that a large swathe of responsibilities would devolve from the enterprise down to the individual.

I can see dangers in it and quite a few employment law changes.
In the UK to get rid of a permanent employee the company must go through due process which is time-consuming and lengthy - unless they are being got rid of for gross misconduct. To get rid of a contractor is relatively straight forward.

If the business model moves to employees bringing their own tools to the businesss then this would force a big shift from expensive proprietary systems. Something like SQL Server with its cheap developer edition would survive but some of the high end stuff would require a radical overhaul to bring their products within the reach of the development community.


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Post #1237736
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 2:00 AM
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While I think about it, if I choose the environment in which I develop, I don't think the company can necessarily force me to use their dev tools or languages.

If the requirement is to produce a library that can support certain business functions, why should it not be developed using whatever technology I am most comfortable using? Providing it works in the run-time environment, everything else should be my choice.

And yes, development licenses for some software are expensive.

Try adding up Visual Studio, Altova XML Spy and Embarcadero ER-Studio to name 3 of the tools I routinely use.
Post #1237745
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 2:07 AM
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On the subject of tax implications it may be that there can be some sort of offset against tax even if you are a direct employee rather than contractor.

My wife is a nurse here in the UK and she is allowed to offset a range of things against tax - RCN subscriptions, Journal Subscriptions, Laundry costs, Some clothing costs (like tights - throughback to the old style uniforms that are not worn nowadays). She is also doing some extra agency work and is allowed to claim back the mileage (apparantly, though we have not done this yet).

I am sure that there will be a similar way to offet technical costs that are essential to the job but not provided by the employer. The inland revenvue normally sets a limit for each type of thing rather than the actual costs, however it all helps.

There may even be rules whereby you can purchase through a salary sacrifice system - this is even better as you do not pay tax or NI on that part of your salary.
Post #1237752
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:40 AM
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Tim - and doesnt that help to explain why our economy is currently sunk deeper than the ocean liner recently! Tights can be claimed back when from what you are saying your Mrs and the rest of the NHS women dont actually use them in their official uniform.

Classic UK public sector attitude. Rip off the country for your own gains.


Anyway, back to the case in point. There are pros and cons for both sides of the argument. Clearly a company has a duty of care. Therefore equipment used by its staff must be checked and able to carry out the task required of it. However I know that when I was presented with a laptop that took almost 8 minutes to become at British Gas, I made sure that it was the last time I ever used it.
Post #1237850
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:56 AM
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Tim - almost LOL.

I think that I am now sufficiently shamed and we should really tell inland revenue about the tights....whether the tax system would be able to cope and exclude this is another matter. I am sure that we can cope without the extra 50p or so. It is a poor system on the Inland Revenue side actually as once it is applied to the tax code it is rolled forward to every future year automatically. The typical NHS worker does not fall into self assessment so would not think about checking each year. My wife has been a Nurse for nearly 20 years so it is not exactly high on her list of priorities. Helping save lives is (obviously though only when she has time after getting everything she can from the state).

Interestingly enough you have to claim this as an individual in the first instance - therefore all the NHS women (and Men) might not get the benefit that they are entitled to as the state does not actually tell them.
Post #1237860
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:24 AM


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I have seven development PCs sitting here at my desk, including a "souped-up" one that cost over $5K. Add in a 21" monitor, a ScanSnap scanner, and a Cybex Avocent 8-port KVM switch and my hardware costs are pretty high. Each box also has a suite of software on it. I could never afford to provide all that. This is a US government organization, so I don't think the original buy-your-own-stuff concept would ever apply, but just saying...


Post #1237913
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:30 AM


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If I were required to bring my own tools (laptop, RedGate toolbelt, SQL Dev Edition, et al), then it would also be necessary for the employer to recognize that it's my darn laptop and they aren't allowed access to it. No keyloggers, no Symantec Performance Killer Enterprise Edition (that may not be the actual marketing name of the product, but it sure should be), etc. Monitor network activity on their network? Of course! Monitor server activity on their servers? Definitely! Ask my computer for a certificate or some such that says it's got appropriate security running? By all means. Install anything on it, scan the hard drive, check for software they don't like, even the browser history? No way.

Personally, I don't have anything to hide. But on the principle of the thing, I'd say, "You want to require me to bring my own computer and pay for my own tools, then you need to recognize that they're mine, not yours".

But I do think that would move the business closer to an agglomeration of individual contractors doing related work, instead of an employer-employee relationship.


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