A lack of mobile device management among SMEs is holding back the introduction of schemes where employees can use their own devices to replace company supplied computers.
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Fears over data security are holding back the take up of programmes that promise cost savings and improved working conditions by allowing staff to use consumer devices at work.
Three-quarters of 200 UK SMEs said they were concerned about allowing workers to use their own devices at work. The report, Mobile Working Report: CoIT and BYOD trends, from managed service provider Timico, focused on consumerisation of IT (CoIT) and bring your own device (BYOD) programmes.
A massive 81.2% said they would probably set up BYOD schemes if they could get a service to manage the scheme, but 31% of businesses said they don't have a policy to cope with BYOD. The protection of company data on devices was cited as a major concern.
The research revealed that high numbers of devices go missing every year. A worrying 42.5% of directors said that up to 20 devices are lost or stolen each year, while 30.5% said they lost anything between 20 and 100 devices. See box below for more findings.
Paul Hughes, head of IT at The Stroke Association, said as a not-for-profit organisation, it has a high percentage of home or mobile workers and plans to embark on a programme of allowing BYOD in the near future.
"Modern business communications are increasingly 'connected' and The Stroke Association works hard to support its employees as trends towards mobile working continue, providing business-use mobile devices in compliance with the company's IT policies. In line with the research results, we would agree that BYOD is of some concern in relation to company data security and risk of loss, but believe that with proper management these can be addressed," he said.
Even large corporates are using BYOD schemes as a way to save money and improve the effectiveness of staff. A pilot scheme introduced by Citrix to enable employees to choose the computing device they use at work has been formalised after successful take-up.
In September 2008, Citrix introduced a scheme known as buy your own computer (BYOC), initially available to 10% of its total workforce of over 5,000. The scheme, under which the company pays for the device the worker chooses, is now available to all staff and has been taken up by 20% of the company's staff worldwide.
Business consultancy Deloitte made the prediction that companies will increasingly allow their workers to choose their own devices to link to the corporate network, as part of its report on trends in technology for 2010.
Deloitte said at the time that the trend is happening at corporates of all sizes and marks a major shift in IT procurement policy.