BYOD Growth Brings Security Fears

Thursday, February 7, 2013 @ 02:02 PM gHale

Workers over in IT continue to fret about rising losing more control over the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon, according to a new report.

The majority of survey respondents (57 percent) thought their mobile data roaming costs would rise in 2013, with eight (8) percent saying they’ll rise more than 25 percent, according to the report from iPass and MobileIron.

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BYOD is creating new challenges for IT. The top two sources of frustration were onboarding and then supporting the increasing number and variety of personal devices, far outranking even security concerns. The survey also found IT is increasingly losing control of mobility budgets as departments assume greater responsibility for mobile initiatives. The number of enterprises in which IT manages the mobility spend has dropped to 48 percent, down from 53 percent in 2011. Forty percent of companies’ mobility budgets now remain managed by non-IT departments.

“IT is charged with implementing solutions to boost employee productivity, and BYOD does that. But as more personal mobile devices with multiple platforms and operating systems are used for work, IT managers are challenged to safeguard corporate data and keep roaming costs low. And when mobility budgets are managed by departments rather than IT, data roaming costs can be hard to control,” said Barbara Nelson, CTO, iPass. “With mobile on track to become the primary computing platform for the enterprise, IT can regain control by setting strong BYOD policies…”

When asked about rising data costs, 44 percent of IT managers named the growing number of devices per mobile worker as a factor; 41 percent highlighted pricey 3G (and 4G) data plans; and 22 percent pointed to an increase in the number of mobile workers as major cost culprits. On average, IT departments spend $96 a month on data fees alone for each mobile worker. North American mobile workers rack up the highest fees ($97/mo), exposing the expense of mobile broadband. Since free Wi-Fi is abundant in North America, these fees primarily reflect non-Wi-Fi forms of mobility, such as 3G and 4G.

“BYOD is more than just shifting ownership of the device to the employee,” said Ojas Rege, vice president strategy, MobileIron. “It has a number of implications for which a strategy needs to be defined in advance of implementation. This becomes even more critical as enterprise mobility evolves from securing email on mobile devices to delivering apps and content to employees anywhere at any time. An effective BYOD program starts with good preparation, but its long-term sustainability will depend on the ongoing quality of the employee’s experience.”

The survey shows BYOD continues to gain ground. Fifty-six percent of respondents, up from 47 percent in 2011, have changed their corporate guidelines within the past year to be more accommodating of employees’ preferences for using personal devices. Eighty-one percent of respondents state their company now accommodates personal devices in the office.

More than half (54 percent) have formal BYOD policies in place and North American companies are more likely than European companies to have done so. The survey found while many organizations allow BYOD not all of them have actual policies for it. Of the 72 percent of enterprises with enterprise mobility strategies in place, only 37 percent of IT managers thought their own company’s mobile strategy was effective, while 35 percent felt that their company had an insufficient approach.