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Study: More adopting BYOD but few understand concept and its risks

Among the many buzzwords in the IT world,  BYOD was one of the most talked about this year. The phenomenon known as “bring-your-own-device,” which refers to employees bringing their own equipment into the corporate environment, was boosted by the launch of devices with friendlier interfaces. Analysts predicted that the Apple’s iPhone 5 would enhance BYOD when it was launched.

According to Ovum, nearly 70% of all smartphone-owning professionals are now using their personal devices to access corporate data, but almost 80% of today’s BYOD activity remains inadequately managed by IT departments.

This situation leaves businesses not only at risk of losing data but unable to claim they took reasonable preventative measures. Indeed, BYOD requires IT teams to set policies letting employees know what they can and cannot do. The trend is also boosting the market for mobile device management (MDM) tools.

Ovum’s study of 4,000 full-time employees found a disturbing level of ignorance among IT professionals about the BYOD trend. For nearly half of the respondents, their employers’ IT departments either did not know about BYOD or were ignoring its existence, operating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, while another 8.1% actively discouraged it.

According to Ovum, the level of ignorance in IT departments was significantly higher in mature economies with more rigid working practices, such as those in continental Europe, compared to those in high-growth economies such as Brazil, India and South Africa.

Richard Absalom, senior analyst at Ovum, pointed out that BYOD multiplies the number of networks, applications and end-points through which data is accessed. “These are the three main points at which data is vulnerable; so, if left unmanaged, BYOD creates a huge data security risk,” he said in a statement.

In a recent experiment, Blue Coat tracked the bandwidth burden of one employee with two iOS devices (an iPhone and iPad). For just those two weeks, the bandwidth impact on the corporate network was more than 13 GB. Bandwidth-consuming activities on smartphones include OS updates; app downloads; photo and video uploads; video and rich media downloads; and backup to cloud storage.

Other key points that Ovum highlighted:

  •  50% of employees say privacy concerns would stop them from accessing their own personal apps on a corporate provisioned smartphone.
  •  For half of all employees, a corporately provisioned smartphone or tablet is not a perfect substitute for a personally owned device, and this will continue to give momentum to the BYOD trend.


Roberta Prescott
Roberta Prescott
Editor, [email protected] Roberta Prescott is responsible for Latin America reporting news and analysis, interviewing key stakeholders. Roberta has worked as an IT and telecommunication journalist since March 2005, when she started as a reporter with InformationWeek Brasil magazine and its website IT Web. In July 2006, Prescott was promoted to be the editor-in-chief, and, beyond the magazine and website, was in charge for all ICT products, such as IT events and CIO awards. In mid-2010, she was promoted to the position of executive editor, with responsibility for all the editorial products and content of IT Mídia. Prescott has worked as a journalist since 1998 and has three journalism prizes. In 2009, she won, along with InformationWeek Brasil team, the press prize 11th Prêmio Imprensa Embratel. In 2008, she won the 7th Unisys Journalism Prize and in 2006 was the editor-in-chief when InformationWeek Brasil won the 20th media award Prêmio Veículos de Comunicação. She graduated in Journalism by the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas, has done specialization in journalism at the Universidad de Navarra (Spain, 2003) and Master in Journalism at IICS – Universidad de Navarra (Brazil, 2010) and MBA – Executive Education at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

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