BYOD, but don’t forget to Build Your Own Defences

It used to be that organisations pioneered and acted as a test-bed for new technology. Increasingly though the opposite is true – nowadays employees often own newer and more sophisticated technology at home than they find in their workplace. This is especially true when it comes to mobile communications.

This might be why more than half of IT Directors experience significant demand from employees to use their personal mobile devices for corporate applications. The benefits are also clear from a user’s perspective. Those individuals whose personal device has been provisioned tell us that they are indeed more productive (77%) and responsive (72%). They also report that they are now much better able to communicate with colleagues (81%).

So it’s perhaps unsurprising that organisations are increasingly happy to provision employee’s own devices. Although some limit this to a small, select group, generally senior management and those regularly out of the office.

The trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is gathering pace: over the next 12 months almost two-thirds plan to increase the number of personal devices provisioned. But of the significant minority (23%) who don’t currently provision employee devices, what’s holding them back? One thing jumps out above all others – security. It’s a concern not only for IT Directors in the private sector (47%) but also their colleagues in public sector organisations where 67% of IT Directors cite this as the reason they aren’t following the trend towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

There’s no denying that security is a significant barrier. Amongst those who do support BYOD, security risks represent their greatest single challenge (51%), closely followed by the resource impact of BYOD – 37% find it takes significant IT resource to set-up devices and the same number find that it makes supporting users more time consuming.

It’s understandable then that mobile security should now have a much greater focus. It used to be the case that IT security took centre stage, whilst mobile security was almost an after-thought. After all, when the main use for mobile devices was voice, the security threats were relatively limited and low impact. However, now that mobile devices provide access to work email and networks containing sensitive corporate and customer data, the risk has increased. In fact, one of today’s smartphones would have been the most powerful computer in the world in 1985. As a result, two out of five IT departments now pay the same level of attention to mobile security as they do to IT security. One-third actually give more attention to mobile security than they do IT security.

According to a recent report, 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study, by internet security firm Symantec and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach for a UK organisation has risen to over £2m, with human error responsible for the vast majority of cases.

What exactly is the nature of this threat they’re protecting themselves against? Well, one-third of organisations (28%) are lucky enough not to have experienced any mobile security events in the last 18 months (or perhaps they have, but just don’t know it!). However, the majority have been affected, with three events most commonly experienced:
• Users downloading unauthorised content or apps (30% have experienced)
• Malware and spyware intrusions (28%)
• Leakage of data (21%)

So by all means, Bring Your Own Device, but don’t forget to Build Your Own Defences. It does seem as though the technological and cultural stars are aligning, and the IT department have never had a better opportunity to play a pivotal role in the success of their organisation. The challenge is by no means an easy one, it requires a strong strategic vision delivered by a motivated team working with the correct tools and partners, but get it right and the effects on organisational success could be seismic.

Ready Businesses let people work on their own devices without compromising security. Secure your workforce on the move with Total Managed Mobility from Vodafone.