IT managers see BYOD benefits but worry about risk – survey

17 May 2012

More than 80pc of IT managers think enterprises with a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy have a competitive advantage over other organisations, research commissioned by BT suggests.

BYOD involves employees using their own mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers, for work.

The research surveyed 2,000 IT users and IT managers in 11 countries and from a range of sectors about their attitudes toward BYOD.

The survey results reveal that more than four out of five companies say they already allow BYOD or will do so within the next two years, and 60pc of employees say they are already allowed to connect personally-owned devices to the corporate network.

Both employees and decision makers are positive about the opportunities BYOD presents, such as enabling employees to be more productive (cited by 64pc of IT managers), to work more flexibly (cited by 48pc of IT managers), and to better serve customers (cited by 47pc of IT managers).

From the employees’ perspective, 42pc of them who use their own devices for work believe they’re efficient and productive as a result of BYOD.

Security concerns come with BYOD

The survey shows there is a caveat to BYOD, however, and that pertains to security.

Thirty-nine per cent of enterprises have experienced a security breach due to employees bringing in unauthorised devices – most commonly in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals sectors, according to the survey.

Eighty-three per cent of IT decision makers believe granting 24/7 access to corporate systems to a mobile workforce is now the main threat to corporate IT security.

One in 10 IT managers think BYOD users are aware of the risks associated with BYOD and less than one in five believe users understand the access/permissions related to their mobile devices.

One in three employees who engage in BYOD say they see no risk in using their own devices for work, and 25pc are aware of the security risk they pose to the company’s network.

“To meet these challenges head-on, enterprises need to have a clear policy, a combination of the right tools to implement it, the trust with which to deliver it to employees and the processes in the business that everyone understands and buys into,” said Neil Sutton, vice-president, Global Portfolio at BT Global Services.

“IT security has always been about a blend of people, policy, process and technology, and the right blend is even more critical in a BYOD world. Rather than being perceived as a barrier to agility or flexibility, security can act as an enabler which improves an organisation’s ability to adapt to the BYOD trend.”