The security challenges of BYOD

February 22, 2013, 11:59 AM GMT+0

YouGov SixthSense research highlights discrepancies between BYOD policies and practices

Almost a third (31%) of senior managers use personal smartphones for work and close to a quarter (23%) of businesses have a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy in place according to a report by YouGov SixthSense carried out among business owners, IT decision-makers and employees.

The “Consumerisation of IT” report shows the scale of the BYOD culture among British businesses and current levels of complacency about it among organisations. In addition to the 31% of business leaders (owners, directors and senior managers) currently using a personal smartphone for work, 19% use their own tablets in the workplace. The equivalent figures for smartphone and tablet use among all adults are 12% and 5% respectively.

With so many people using personal devices for work the loss, damage or theft of tablets and smartphones poses several security risks for businesses. The YouGov SixthSense report shows that around one in seven (14%) UK adults have damaged a phone while 8% have lost one and 5% have had a device stolen. Among those who’ve had their personal mobile stolen, damaged or lost, 15% had work contacts on it, 8% used their device to store work documents and 8% used their phone for confidential emails.

Policy problems

The report shows 65% of IT managers say their companies currently allow BYOD. However, just under a quarter (23%) say their organisation has a formal BYOD policy that covers areas such as regular data back-ups, prohibiting access to particular types of data and data encryption on local and removable devices. The report shows that even where policies are put in place IT managers face significant challenges. Four in ten (41%) say they experienced employee resistance to implementation and more than a quarter (26%) say that BYOD policy had to be revised after complaints from staff.

John Gilbert, Consulting Director of Technology/Telecoms at YouGov SixthSense, says: “There are some worrying security concerns for businesses in terms of loss of confidential emails, work documents and business contacts information. Smartphones and tablets used for work are less likely to be password-protected than laptops and desktops. Given the overall lack of security currently in place on many personal devices, many organisations seem to be exposing themselves to risk by not taking or sharing responsibility.”

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