Small Businesses Embrace BYOD Tablets, Harbor Security Worries

Tablet adoption among SMBs is gaining traction, with 97 percent saying anytime, anywhere access to data and applications makes workers more effective.

While small and midsize business (SMBs)--defined as 100 to 2,000 employees--see considerable business benefits to tablet adoption, they also state that tablet users demand additional access to business applications and data beyond what they have today, according to a survey of 300 IT professionals sponsored by NComputing and conducted by Dimensional Research.

With SMBs worldwide experiencing a rapid expansion of mobile device use in the workplace, thanks to an on-the-go workforce and today's bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, three-quarters of those surveyed said they have employees that use tablets for work.

Tablet adoption for business purposes among SMBs is gaining traction, with 97 percent saying anytime, anywhere access to data and applications makes employees more effective and 83 percent indicating that making business applications and data available on smartphones and tablets would have a high or medium business impact.

"While small and midsized businesses continue to witness rapid tablet adoption, the research shows IT professionals still face daunting challenges in securely delivering legacy business applications to new, modern tablets," Diane Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research, said in a statement. "Survey respondents widely acknowledge that tablet adoption provides considerable business impact, but more work clearly needs to be done in order to address their needs and fulfill the business promise."

However, IT professionals are concerned when employees use BYOD tablets for work; 56 percent worldwide have employees using BYOD tablets for work, and in North America this increases to 64 percent.

In addition, 75 percent say they worry about the security of business data on personal tablets and 43 percent say they have user privacy concerns related to use of personal tablets.

The survey also indicated IT faces difficulties delivering legacy business applications to tablets, with 86 percent of survey respondents saying they face challenges giving mobile employees access to Windows applications on tablets, and 41 percent saying they struggle with compatibility between Windows applications and mobile devices.

More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents said that users have a poor experience when accessing Windows applications from tablets.

"This research underscores that the use of tablets in both BYOD and company-owned scenarios, while beneficial, is creating real challenges for IT," Raj Dhingra, CEO of NComputing, said in a statement. "Today's IT professionals need to fulfill ever-increasing demands to support the modern work environment by ensuring secure, easy access to all the applications and files they need--including legacy Windows applications--from their device of choice."