VA Wants Employees to Buy Their Own Tech - Lease to Own Could Make It Work
Technology blog Mashable reports today that the Department of Veteran's Affairs will no longer bulk-buy personal computers to support the work of its 300,000 employees. Instead, the VA is looking forward to the day when employees working for the vast government agency will buy and bring in the same devices they use at home.
The idea of opening up the network doors to hundreds of thousands of home-based mobile devices and desktop machines would seem to fly in the face of security-based organizational reason. The worldwide cost of trying to stem the tide of email spam alone was $1 billion, according to a recent article at NetworkSecurity. Throw in thousands of newly-connected personal devices with a multitude of hidden viruses, malware and keystroke logging data-phishers, and there are liable to be tons of IT people swapping jobs across our nation out of sheer frustration.
At first glance, it would appear that there could be a huge savings to the VA, in no longer periodically providing new desktops and handhelds to its employees. Even reducing the number of PCs purchased by a quarter could potentially save millions. But would expenses then shift to making a now-complicated geography of mixed-machinery "safe" for their network?
The VA is being tight-lipped about what the cost of adding security measures to all of those new machines, running different operating systems and filled with personal data, with Veterans Affairs Department Chief Information Officer Roger Baker simply referring to the issue as belonging to Human Resources. Ouch.
So how could organizations like the VA implement a cost-savings plan, while still keeping secure a familiar landscape of standardized office computing power? Through an employee lease-purchase plan.
Every two years, the IT staff of the VA (and any other larger organization) should put together the desired design specs for the desktop-based and mobile workhorses needed to do the job. Obtain a bulk supplier of these devices, and purchase them as usual on the first fiscal year date. Here is where it all changes, though.
Offer any employee who uses the new machine the opportunity to buy it from the organization, at 50% of the original cost, in 24 interest-free payments. They will have to use the computer at (and for) work, configured as desired by the company and its network. Once the machine is paid off, the organization will wipe and reconfigure the machine, and give it to the employee.Continued on the next page