IT managers in the UK are in “true denial” of the reality of bring your own device (BYOD), according to research released today.
Juniper Network’s trust mobility index questioned 4,000 IT managers as well as professional and traditional consumers from five countries about their use of mobile devices for work.
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A significant 65% of IT managers in the UK believed their employees were not using unsupported devices, compared over 40% of users who admitted to accessing corporate data on smartphones and tablets.
“These IT managers need to take their head out of the sand and realise [BYOD] is happening,” said Paul Gainham, senior director of solutions in EMEA for Juniper, at the unveiling of the research in London this morning.
“Some of them are in true denial and that is a scary prospect.”
The study showed employees had, on average, three devices they carried around with them to use for work, with 18% owning five. Gainham admitted this created a “security nightmare” for IT departments, but they needed to tackle the growing trend head on, rather than ignoring it and putting the company at risk.
“It feels complex or sounds complex so some take the attitude of ignore it for now until we get bitten,” he added, “but you have to look at end to end security and end to end policy.”
“Either go with prohibition or a completely open and clear policy, but don’t go into denial as that is where the risk lies.”
It is not just the IT managers that don’t trust mobile devices, as even the employees seem unsure whether to trust them.
Just 20% of UK respondents said they had a “great deal of confidence” in the security of their mobile devices, meaning 80% were unsure or didn’t trust them at all.
“All of this points to a trust gap,” said Gainham. “People are actively using mobiles at am alarmingly increasing rate but [despite concerns] their time and investment into security is still relatively low.”
At the report launch presenters agreed education was the only way to solve the problems that come with BYOD.
“The long term success of [BYOD] strategies will require a lot more education,” said Nushin Hernandes, analyst at Canalys. “Businesses need to ask themselves how aware their employees are and do they need to be trained.”
“If they don’t act quickly enough, they will find themselves in a reactive spiral, trying to catch up with the problems of deployments.”