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Q&A: BYOD is here to stay

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 5, 2013
There is no use fighting the BYOD trend. BYOD is further entrenched in the workplace than many IT managers realise, says Tim Harris, Managing Director, BT SEA.

Despite the fact that less than half of organisations have a formal BYOD policy in place, the majority of IT decision makers believe that having a BYOD policy can provide a competitive advantage - 86 percent in Singapore, 97 percent in China and 93 percent in India. Furthermore, at least two-thirds of all global survey respondents believe that a BYOD policy would increase employee productivity. This demonstrates that organisations are recognising the need for a proper BYOD policy to manage the rise in personal device usage among employees.

What are the key BYOD challenges from the perspective of employers?

Exponential growth in the use of smart devices has led to a significant increase in demand for bandwidth across 84 percent of organisations surveyed globally (88 percent in Singapore, 94 percent in India and 97 percent in China). More than 50 percent of IT managers have also noticed a resulting performance decline in some applications, which negatively impacts productivity gains expected from smart devices. More than half of workers in Singapore, China and India with Wi-Fi access in their office have experienced delays logging on or accessing applications. Many have also noticed that applications are now running more slowly than before.

With networks struggling to keep up with the bandwidth demands of smart devices, more than three quarters (82 percent, 97 percent and 96 percent in Singapore, India and China respectively) of users are convinced that their organisation needs to step up to the opportunity. It is clear that enabling BYOD in its many forms is about much more than simply cool devices and a mobile contract. Organisations need to consider elements of device compatibility, security, Wi-Fi, network, application performance, with a focus on driving down costs.

Security risks such as malware, viruses, etc. remain one of the main concerns when it comes to implementing BYOD. Forty-nine percent of organisations say that this has prevented them from adopting BYOD in the past, and will continue to curtail adoption in the future. This is for good reason, as 82 percent of all IT managers surveyed who allow BYOD indicate that they have had to deal with security risks, such as malware or viruses, as a result of their employees using personally owned devices. However, 18 percent are confident that they will not have to deal with these risks in the future.

How will an organisation suffer if it refuses to embrace BYOD?

Companies need to acknowledge that there is no use fighting the BYOD trend. BYOD is further entrenched in the workplace than many IT managers realise. Eighty-six percent of employees are already using their personal devices to access work emails and 81 percent access the Internet for work purposes. Fifty percent also use their personal devices to access work files from company servers. 


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