Orange Business Services (OBS) is to give its 760 staff the ability to choose their own smartphone from major platforms including iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone, V3.co.uk has learned.
The move represents a growing trend for firms to move away from dictating the type of device staff must use, and instead leaving the choice to the individual in order to enable staff to be as productive as possible.
The firm's UK managing director, Mark Kenealy, told V3.co.uk it will provide a portion of the cost of the device so staff have free rein to choose what they want, as the consumerisation of IT trend extends into IT services companies.
"People want to be able to bring in any device to use at work so we instead control the access to the network, which means we can allow any sort of device in, so long as it has the necessary network protocols built in," he said.
"By giving our staff a wide choice of device we can ensure they have what they want while keeping control of access to key data."
The move further underlines that not only is BlackBerry losing its grip on the corporate space but all mobile platforms, including the malware-prone Android operating system, are being welcomed into office environments.
The former chief information officer of Westminster Council, David Wilde, recently told V3.co.uk he had given staff the choice between BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 devices, a move that drew praise from readers.
Chris Lindsay, senior director at BT Engage IT, told V3.co.uk that consumerisation of enterprise IT is a trend IT managers cannot resist, despite issues over support, selection of devices and enabling back-end infrastructure.
"In some ways it's a much bigger problem for them than cloud computing, although it's had less column inches," he said.
"But the benefits are greater productivity and staff are more willing to extend their working hours too."
OBS's Kenealy also said he welcomed the announcement from the European Commission on Monday that it would be making data breach notifications mandatory for all firms, arguing it would help enhance security.
"It will be really interesting to see what is going on out there and it will be frightening to see some of the disclosures that come through. It shows how important security of information is for data controllers and hopefully will improve security in businesses," he said.
The decision to make data breach notification mandatory in the telecoms sector has not been welcomed by all, though, with Everything Everywhere recently slamming the changes to the law.
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