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BYOD genie is out of the bottle

Zafar Anjum | May 17, 2012
IT managers recognise benefits of BYOD but concerned about employees’ awareness of risk: BT

"There is no denying it. The BYOD genie is out of the bottle bringing with it unprecedented opportunities for enterprises but also new threats."

This is according to Neil Sutton, vice president, global portfolio at BT Global Services. He further said: "The new perimeter is everywhere, defined by employee-owned devices, clouds, and extranets. The risk of abuse and attack has multiplied along with this massive expansion."

Sutton was speaking in context of a new survey that was commissioned by his company, BT.

According to this study, over 80 percent of IT managers think that enterprises with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy hold a competitive advantage over other organisations.

The research, which surveyed attitudes towards employees' use of their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, covered 2,000 IT users and IT managers in 11 countries and from a range of sectors, said BT.

BT says that its study suggests BYOD has arrived - over four in five companies say they already allow BYOD or will do within the next 24 months and 60 percent of employees claim they are already allowed to connect personally-owned devices to the corporate network.

Further, the study reveals that both employees and decision makers are positive about the opportunities presented by the growing use of personal devices on corporate networks. For example:

  • Sixty-four percent of IT managers think that having a BYOD policy will enable employees to be more productive.
  • Forty-eight percent think it will also allow employees to work more flexibly and 47 percent think it will enable employees to serve customers better.
  • This sentiment is shared by employees - 42 percent of employees using their own device for work believe that they are more efficient and productive as a result.

But there is nervousness too

Despite these benefits, IT managers are nervous, says BT. Only one in 10 think that all BYOD users recognise the risks and less than one in five believe all users understand the access/permissions related to their mobile devices.

"To meet these challenges head-on, enterprises need to have a clear policy, a combination of the right tools to implement it, the trust with which to deliver it to employees and the processes in the business that everyone understands and buys into," says Neil Sutton.

Security is clearly a hot button issue. Thirty-nine percent of enterprises have experienced a security breach due to employees bringing in unauthorised devices - most commonly in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals sectors. 


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