BYOD becomes a reality as managers give the thumbs-up

More than three-quarters of employees are permitted to use their personal devices for work, proving that bring your own device (BYOD) has truly arrived.

The research by Trend Micro found that 78 per cent of employees were permitted to bring their own devices to work, yet nearly all companies that do permit BYOD require security software be installed on personal devices.

Another research paper by mobile device management vendor Zenprise found that enterprises are embracing the BYOD trend, with North America the lead adopter of its cloud-based solution.

Ahmed Datoo, chief marketing officer of Zenprise, said: “This report finds two overarching concerns: security and a potential loss of productivity. As the BYOD trend continues to gain momentum, we expect that advances in mobile device management will offset these concerns and companies will start viewing mobile devices as increasingly critical tools for business success.”

Zenprise found that basic access and security policies were the most commonly deployed functions in mobile device management, with passcode policies and VPN policies each deployed for 29 per cent of enrollments.

The Trend Micro survey found that BYOD is seen as an employee retention and recruitment tool by 54 per cent of CEOs and 45 per cent of IT executives. The same proportion also felt that a BYOD policy enhances innovation, creativity and productivity.

Trend Micro said security breaches have been experienced by nearly half of all companies that allow BYOD, and immediate changes to security protocols typically followed, with data-access right restrictions (45 per cent) and security software installation (42 per cent) being the most frequent responses. Few repealed BYOD altogether following a breach.

Meanwhile, research by Websense found that 51 per cent of organisations lose data through mobile devices, and while 77 per cent of respondents agreed that the use of mobile devices in the workplace is important to achieving business objectives, 76 per cent also believed that these devices put their organisations at risk.

In the same survey, 59 per cent of respondents said employees circumvent or disengage security features, such as passwords and key locks, on corporate and personal mobile devices. Spencer Parker, group product manager at Websense, told SC Magazine that one of the main concerns is controlling data once it is outside the organisation.

He said: “With BYOD and smartphones, businesses have to support the technology and policies that have been rolled out as they want to empower users. Security is all about data rather than devices, as a locked-down attitude is not good enough.”

Tom Clare, senior director of product marketing management at Websense, said: “Tablets and iOS devices are replacing corporate laptops as employees bring their own devices to work and access corporate information. These devices open the door to unprecedented loss of sensitive data. IT needs to be concerned about the data that mobile devices access and not the device itself.

“This survey shows that organisations need a safe way to manage their mobile devices. Websense saw that need and developed our TRITON Mobile Security solution. We take mobile security to the next level by combining device management with real-time protection from data loss, dynamic web threats, mobile malware, and malicious mobile apps.”

Websense polled more than 4,600 IT security practitioners globally; the Trend Micro survey was of IT executives and CEOs located in the US, UK and Germany.

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