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BYO – New Survey Highlights Divided Camps

April 27th, 2012 by BrightCloud

Tent ThumbWhere are you with Bring Your Own (BYO) as new survey highlights divided camps for this practice.

Mobile devices are multiplying and whether they are authorised or not getting their way onto company networks. For IT managers, the growth of personal mobile devices to corporate networks is raising security concerns, creating management challenges, and swamping help desks with support calls.

Allowed Devices

In a survey of 400 IT professionals conducted by Network World and Solar Winds, respondents shared a wide range of tactics for handling the mobile device management challenge. To start with, the majority of survey respondents said their companies issue mobile devices that can access the corporate network, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Just 15% said their companies don’t issue mobile devices with network access. Tellingly, some of the respondents whose companies don’t issue mobile devices said there’s opportunity for end users to bring personal devices to work and receive support from corporate IT.

“We provide a monthly stipend where users can BYOD for smartphones. We support iPhone, RIM and Android devices,” one respondent said.

“We don’t issue mobile devices, but users who own their own mobile devices can access the corporate network once they have received IT permission,” another respondent said.

BYOD Not Universally Embraced

In the pro-BYOD camp, 59.3% of respondents say there are no device restrictions when it comes to employee-owned devices that are allowed to access the corporate network. (Access is often limited to specific Web applications or segregated virtual networks, however.) Among the remainder of respondents who restrict specific personal mobile devices from accessing corporate resources, there was no one device type that’s universally banned. Respondents were nearly equally likely to not allow Android (26.6%), iOS (22.8%), RIM BlackBerry (22.3%) and Windows Mobile devices (24.5%)

When asked why companies decided not to allow specific personal mobile devices, responses varied. Many were absolute: “If it is not company-owned, it does not touch our network,” one respondent stated. Another said there’s “no need to have personal devices on the network when the company provides every resource necessary to do your job.”

Respondents frequently expressed security concerns and IT support challenges. They cited the potential for loss of confidential information via personal devices; legal issues and regulatory compliance risks; the introduction of malware threats; and the management burden associated with supporting diverse device types.

Nor is it always clear exactly how often employees bring their own devices to work. When asked if they’re confident they know about all the personal mobile devices with access to the corporate network, respondents expressed varying degrees of certainty.

Do You Know About All Devices Connecting To Your Network?

The BYOD Effect

Despite myriad security concerns and manageability challenges, there are positive effects associated with the BYOD trend. Among the respondents whose companies allow personal mobile devices to access the corporate network, 46.2 percent said the policy has increased productivity among end users. A nearly similar number (47.2%) said it has increased end users’ ability to work from home.

“Team members are always able to receive and respond to emails, regardless of where they are,” one respondent summed up.

In some cases, having a BYOD policy has positively impacted employee relations. BYOD has “improved employee attraction and retention,” one respondent said. “We have seen a change in morale,” another noted. The policy has “increased job satisfaction for the employee and satisfaction with central corporate IT’s customer service,” another concluded.

Just 5.2% said allowing personal mobile devices to access the corporate network has decreased employee productivity, and 27.5% said they haven’t seen any change in behaviour.

On the security front, respondents were asked if a non-company-issued mobile device has been responsible for a security breach on the company network. Just 5.7% of respondents said yes, while 66.7% said no and 22.7 % said they’re unsure.

Among the respondents with anecdotes about BYOD-spawned security incidents, the most commonly cited culprits were personal laptops that introduced a virus on the company network.

On the support front, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents are in agreement on one particular BYOD issue: They need management help.

When asked if they have the necessary tools in place to manage non-company-issued mobile devices on the network, 65.3% said no, 27.5% said yes, and 7.3% said they’re not sure.

With the increased use of mobile devices, 44 percent of respondents said they’ve experienced an increase in helpdesk requests, 40.7% said they’ve experienced an increase in network traffic, and 15.9% said they’ve experienced an increase in security issues. Just over 14 percent said they’ve seen an increase in all three of those areas. At the other extreme, 28.3% said they’ve experienced none of those upticks.

One respondent noted “an increase in workload due to a more diverse hardware and software infrastructure,” and another said the management overhead is so significant “we needed to outsource mobile phone device management to keep up with demand.”

Respondents said they’re employing a wide range of vendor tools and security tactics in order to provide safe, productive mobile access to employees. Usage policies vary, and many are a work in progress as business priorities shift and access technologies mature. Determining security policies that can be reasonably enforced on personal mobile devices is tricky. In some cases, companies have found they need to rethink blanket bans on personal devices at work as the BYOD trend gains momentum.

BrightCloud can help you develop a BYOD programme, for more information download our free guide:  Windows 8 and BYOD


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