BYOD Rapidly Going Global, Good Technology Study Finds

Companies worldwide are embracing the bring-your-own-device trend, with financial service enterprises and health care organizations leading BYOD adoption, a Good Technology survey revealed.

Many organizations are expanding their support for the bring-your-own device (BYOD) phenomenon beyond the United States to their operations overseas, according to an annual survey by Good Technology, a mobile security provider.

According to the report, 55 percent of the 100 customers interviewed by Good were supporting BYOD in multiple countries compared with 45 percent a year ago, the company revealed in its "2nd Annual State of BYOD" survey, released on Jan. 22.

"What we're starting to see this year is a lot more companies [are] supporting it in multiple countries," John Herrema, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Good Technology, told eWEEK.

Even in countries such as Japan, France and Germany, where respondents to last year's survey expressed concerns about personal privacy, data controls being implemented by enterprises to support employees' personal mobile devices are alleviating concerns about monitoring employees' mobile use, said Herrema.

Features such as selective wipe can help companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where remote wiping of an employee's personal device is illegal, Herrema explained.

BYOD allows IT departments to support employees' personal devices without impacting apps used in their personal lives.

"Because our customers know that their business data isn't intermingling with anything in their personal life, what they don't have to do is go into the user's device and tell the user you can't deploy or use iCloud or or you can't use Dropbox," said Herrema, referring to a practice called blacklisting, where some companies monitor which applications employees install.

Adoption of BYOD by organizations increased to 76 percent from 72 percent in last year's survey. In addition, companies that lack plans for BYOD dropped from 9 percent to 5 percent.

Enterprises are allowing employees to use their own mobile devices to reduce IT costs and increase employee productivity, Good reported.

Allowing employees to use their own devices enables companies to provide better service, increase their response time, comply with regulations and security requirements and save money, said Herrema.

Larger companies were most active in BYOD, with 75 percent of firms comprising 2,000 or more employees supporting the trend and 46 percent with 10,000 or more employees adopting BYOD.

Even employees that work in highly regulated industries such as finance and health care are able to use their mobile devices at work, Good reported.

Financial services and health care were the two industries with greatest support for BYOD, while government adoption of BYOD is also increasing, according to the mobile technology provider.

With the need for data in real time, financial services and health care are well-suited for BYOD, according to Herrema.

"We don't find it odd at all that those industries, if they can handle their security and compliance requirements, would actually want to be as mobile as they possibly can be," said Herrema. "By supporting BYOD, you've got more users connected more of the time."

Financial service companies consistently top Good surveys for BYOD adoption. Health care trades off in the second spot with professional services, such as accounting and consulting, said Herrema.

For doctors, "being able to leverage the device they want to use and support the applications they're using on iPads with bigger screens and other things like that, it's very helpful when you're in that kind of clinical environment," he said.

Although only seven out of 100 respondents were in health care for this year's survey, all of them were either already implementing BYOD or planned to do so in the next six months. More than 90 percent of health care respondents in last year's survey were adopting BYOD.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of hospital IT departments allow doctors and staff to use personal devices on the job, according to a 2012 survey of health care IT professionals by Aruba Networks, a manufacturer of mobile networking infrastructure.

In the future, BYOD will be commonplace, according to Herrema.

"We think we'll be sitting here in a couple of years and it won't even be worth putting out a report," said Herrema. "[BYOD] will be taken for granted."