Latest Claranet research highlights Bring Your Own Dilemma

96 per cent say mobile working benefits their organisation, but three quarters think BYOD increases security risk

Organisations that use mobile working services are almost unanimous in their belief that it has brought benefits to their businesses, yet three quarters think that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model poses an increased security threat, according to new research from Claranet.

Claranet’s second annual cloud adoption and trends survey polled 250 senior IT decision-makers in a range of businesses and public sector organisations. The survey, conducted in November 2012, found that 72 per cent of organisations currently have a mobile working service that enables employees to access corporate networks remotely, either on corporate-owned or personal devices.

However, significant security concerns persist, with 70 per cent of organisations identifying worries over increased data loss, while 51 per cent fear that mobile working leads to less control over how data is used. A similar proportion (50 per cent), believe it poses a greater risk of unauthorised access to IT systems.

The research also revealed a general failure to implement a formal BYOD strategy, with barely a quarter (26 per cent) reporting that they have specific BYOD policies in place. Furthermore, there seems to be little unanimity of approach to BYOD, with 34 per cent saying that they do not allow employees to use their personal devices to access corporate networks, and 10 per cent actively seeking to discourage BYOD.

Claranet’s UK Managing Director, Michel Robert, said that organisations urgently need to formulate a mobile working strategy, whether they approve of BYOD or not.

The research shows that two thirds of organisations expect to see personal devices increasingly used for work purposes, even if they do not approve of BYOD,” said Robert. “And while there are significant and legitimate concerns over the security of personal devices, it’s an issue that cannot be ignored. Both public and private organisations need to have clear, comprehensive and well-understood policies covering mobile working, including which devices can connect to business networks and what technologies are in place to protect corporate data.

“The growth of mobile working, and also of the BYOD phenomenon, is powered by the fact that it really does bring business benefits,” he continued. “In Claranet’s survey, 88 per cent of organisations using mobile working services said it brings better productivity and performance; 42 per cent said it makes working practices more efficient; and 41 per cent said it improves customer service.

“Whatever your opinion, it’s impossible to ignore the reality of technically savvy employees who rely on mobile devices for personal and business use. The benefits are real and businesses need to formulate a method of accommodating BYOD – whether it is through implementing policies for accessing corporate networks on personal devices, or using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, for example. Companies need to balance the needs of enhancing efficiency, enabling their employees to work the way they want and safeguarding security,” Robert concluded.

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