BYOD not just the latest trend

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There is a growing acceptance of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in Australasia, despite the persistent belief that its risks outweigh its benefits, according to an international survey of IT professionals.

While nearly half (48%) of respondents in this part of the world said that their enterprise allows BYOD, almost precisely the same percentage (47%) thought that the risks still outweighed the benefits, compared with 22% who thought the opposite.

The IT Risk/Reward Barometer survey, conducted last September by not-for-profit IT organisation ISACA, polled 4,500 IT professionals globally, including 173 in Australasia. “[It] helps gauge current attitudes and organizational behaviors related to the risk and reward associated with the blurring boundaries between personal and work devices (BYOD), cloud computing, and increased enterprise risk related to online employee behaviour at peak seasonal times,” according to the ISACA website.

Interestingly, organisations in Oceania and Africa are embracing BYOD more rapidly than elsewhere in the world – only 28% of European countries allow BYOD, for instance. “Enterprises in Oceania seem to understand and accept that employees are using their own devices more and more, and are blurring the lines between work and personal activities,” said Jo Stewart-Rattray, director – ISACA.

Bennett Medary, chair of the New Zealand Information and Communication Technologies Group (NZICT), agreed.  “I don’t have any research data to share, however it is very clear that there is an increasing trend for all sorts of workers, not just IT folk, to have more personal identification with and ownership of their ‘connectivity’ and sometimes their ‘tools of trade,’” he said.

“However, controls need to be in place that include clearly defined and communicated policies and ongoing education that provides employees with training and safeguards to help protect both the enterprise and the individuals who work there,” Stewart-Rattray said.

Despite being sensitive its risks, almost a third of companies in Oceania (32%) do not have a security policy in place for BYOD. High risks identified by IT professionals include:
 

  • Storing work passwords in a file on a personal device (78%)
  • Losing a work-supplied computer or smart phone (67%)
  • Using an online file-sharing service for work documents (63%)
  • Downloading personal files onto a work-supplied device (51%)

However, BYOD is a trend that reflects the modern lifestyle, and may be entrenched. “Convergence of work and private use, both in the workplace, on the road and at home, makes it harder to have devices dedicated only to one aspect of life,” Medary concluded.

Related story: Bring Your Own Device to work – Dimension Data’s journey

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