Personal Devices OK for Work

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 11:05 AM gHale

While they still remain a security nightmare, corporate IT departments in the United States are embracing the inevitable: Workers are bringing their personal devices to work, a new study said.

Among 600 IT and business executives surveyed, 95 percent said they support employees bringing and using personal devices in the workplace in some way, according to the report from Cisco’s Internet Solutions Business group (ISBG).

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For good reasons corporate IT departments have been slow to embrace the trend dubbed ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) because of potential security risks.

While corporate IT departments have systems in place to ensure desktop security and to prevent data loss over the Internet or through email, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops that can connect with external networks pose different security challenges.

Despite those challenges the study found 84 percent of respondents now not only allow employee-owned devices, but also provide some level of support while 36 percent provide full support for employee-owned devices.

“IT is saying yes to BYOD, before it was saying hands off,” said Sujai Hajela, general manager of Cisco’s wireless networking unit.

Nevertheless, he said, “data protection and security is the number one concern.”

Cisco itself allows staff to bring their own devices for work and said it found employees are willing to pay to use their private device at work.

“The typical Cisco employee who chooses a personal device at work pays, on average, a $600 premium to do so,” Cisco’s ISBG said.

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