BYOD Security Risks Not a Concern for Consumers

The Gartner survey also revealed 20 percent of respondents access data behind the workplace firewall using private devices.

Despite the rise in the use of personal devices for business use, U.S. consumers are showing scant concern for security when it comes to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, according to a survey by IT research firm Gartner.

One-quarter of business users admitted to having had a security issue with their private device in 2013, but only 27 percent of those respondents felt obliged to report this to their employer, the survey found.

In addition, 26 percent of respondents said their employer required use of BYOD devices and 15 percent had signed a BYOD agreement. One-third of respondents have employers who are aware but don’t have a policy in place, and the rest said their employer was either not aware or they didn't know.

This suggests 59 percent of survey respondents who regularly use their private devices for work have not yet signed a formal agreement with their employer.

"Whatever the activity and the duration, any work activity on a private device inherently carries the threat of a security breach. That leaves IT organizations scrambling to come up with the right mix of mobile security defenses to balance protection, governance and user flexibility," Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Businesses will need help from telecoms service providers (TSPs) to evaluate and implement policies and procedures, ongoing user education, and sourcing and deploying mobile security, encryption and mobile device management (MDM) solutions."

The report noted one of the biggest challenges for IT leaders is making sure that their users fully understand the implications of faulty mobile security practices and to get users and management to adhere to essential steps which secure their mobile devices.

For many organizations, overcoming BYOD security challenges is a full-time task, with a host of operational issues. Failure to embrace BYOD will force it underground and into the shadows, where it will have the potential to publicly expose private data and open the enterprise to a data breach situation, the report warned.

The survey also revealed 20 percent of respondents access data behind the workplace firewall using private devices.

Nearly half of the survey respondents said they spend more than one hour each day using private devices for work purposes. The data also suggests that around half of respondents regularly use their devices for social as well as productivity tasks.

The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 995 full or part time workers in the United States, all of whom use a private device for work purposes, Gartner explained.