Its no secret that the bring-your-own-device trend opens up new possibilities for employees and the businesses they work for, and a study by communications giant BT finds that more than 80 percent of IT managers think enterprises can gain a competitive advantage by implementing a BYOD program. The survey also suggests BYOD is here to staywith four out of five companies having implemented a program or planning to within the next two years.
The survey tracks attitudes toward employees' use of their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work and includes input from 2,000 IT users and IT managers in 11 countries. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they already use a personal device to connect to the corporate network. Flexibility and improved efficiency seem to be the key drivers of BYOD adoption, with 64 percent of IT managers saying they think allowing employees to use their own devices would improve productivity. Employees feel the same way, the survey indicated, with 42 percent of employees enrolled in BYOD programs saying their efficiency and productivity have risen.
"There is no denying it. The BYOD genie is out of the bottle, bringing with it unprecedented opportunities for enterprises but also new threats, BT Global Services Vice President Neil Sutton said in a statement. The new perimeter is everywhere, defined by employee-owned devices, clouds and extranets. The risk of abuse and attack has multiplied along with this massive expansion.
Indeed, the survey found security implementation to be the top concern surrounding BYOD programs, cited by 73 percent of IT managers. More worrisome is the significant number (39 percent) of businesses that have dealt with a security breach due to unauthorized devices. Security concerns stemming from employee devices having round-the-clock access to corporate networks was cited by 83 percent of IT decision makers as the most pressing threat to corporate security, according to survey results.
IT managers may find their fears justified, as the survey indicated employees who use their own devices in the workplace are unaware of the security risk they could pose to the corporate network. Only one-quarter of BYOD employees surveyed had an idea of the risk involved, and one in three saw "no risk" in using their own devices in the workplace.
"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, Sutton said. 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 organization's ability to adapt to the BYOD trend."